I think that writing has a strange feature that makes it quite like painting. For the offspring of the painter’s skill stand before us like living creatures but if you ask them a question they are very solemnly silent. And the same goes for written words; you might assume that they are speaking with some degree of intelligence but if you wish to learn from them and you ask them a question about what they are saying, they just point to one thing and it is always the same. And once they have been written down, every word is bandied about indiscriminately to people who understand it and to those for whom it is not appropriate at all, and it does not know to whom it should speak and to whom it should not. And when it is ill-treated or unjustly criticised it always needs its father to come to its aid, for it is unable either to defend or assist itself.