This morning I met Ommwriter. Taking minimalism to a new extreme, Ommwriter is a text processor that replaces the multitude of boxes, bars, tools and icons with an atmospheric space and a few simple commands. Gentle music plays as your text floats above snow and the silhouettes of distant trees. (It feels Scandinavian, but it's actually Spanish). According to its creators, Ommwriter is “a humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate.” It “believes in making writing a pleasure once again.”
It's elegant and inspiring, but at the same time it makes me reflect gloomily on our increasing feebleness of mind. The more our tools and technology proliferate, the more we seem paralysed by them. Now we have a tool that helps us forget how many tools we are using, that tries to coax us, via our senses, into a state of creativity. Of course this is refreshing next to the babel of garbage the web also purveys, but at the same time it seems a high watermark of artifice, making our creativity increasingly that of cyborgs. In looking for pleasure, comfort, usability, and sensory experience to help us create, we might easily forget that many of the greatest works of literature were written with feathers.