Our Arbitrary Alphabet

We have been gaslighted by the alphabet and now believe the arbitrary string of letters is actually organized according to some plan.

Hegemonic Language and Arbitrary Order

The signs used in writing originate in arbitrary decisions, but the connection with arbitrariness is lost when convention takes over. The convention of long usage kills even the memory of the initial arbitrariness of the signs and gives them an objective and seemingly inevitable presence. Order is thereby preserved.

Rhythm and rhyme lend an aura of intention to it all (cf. Brian Eno’s lyrics on Once in a Lifetime).

Why is the alphabet in alphabetical order?

And why is the alphabet in the order it is?  It has been in more or less the same order for thousands of years, with roots in early alphabets in their ordering.  But why are they organized the way THEY are?  Probably (no one knows for sure) because it’s easy to memorize in that order. Currently, we stop at the rhymes and give it a bouncy little rhythm (abCdefG hiJklmnoP qrS tuV wX Y and Z).   We have created a semblance of order from chaos – an arbitrary collection of nonsense sounds. The cognitive psychologists among us might note that there ae 7 chunks (consonant with the magic number of things we can remember – 7 plus or minus 2).