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A life without pencil erasers?

This morning, I got a good dose of philosophy from the newspaper. It isn’t very often that you get to read unique articles and this particular one definitely made my Friday morning a thoughtful one. It was the ‘World View’ column with the title “Pencil Erasers may be the ‘devil’” that caught my attention. It got me thinking about the process of unlearning taught to us at school.

A lot of questions popped up. Why do we hide our mistakes? Why isn’t it okay to make mistakes? Why are we taught to make up for a mistake? Why aren’t we taught to look at the mistake and learn from it? Why do we erase a mistake? Why aren’t we being naturally ourselves? Why do we need an eraser?

The last question is what instigated me to write this post. What if Edward Nairne had not invented an eraser by accident? What if we were never introduced to the concept of the eraser at school!

I should admit that the little wad of rubber that undoes all the mistakes made by your mighty pencil is indeed a great invention but is the philosophy behind it morally flawed?  Questions keep popping up and I love topics that make me think! So, I decided to do some thinking rather than a research, where google does most of the thinking. (We have to learn to live without google, for heaven’s sake!)

Picture sourced from here

If there was no eraser,

… My notebooks would be shabby
… My grades would be below average
… I wouldn’t be my teacher’s pet
… I would be labelled as a clumsy person
… My handwriting would be beautiful
… My attention to detail would improve
… I would be a better decision-maker
… I would not be afraid to make mistakes
… I would be more creative
… I would learn to respect the shortcomings of others
… I would learn to be myself
… I would be learning from my every mistake
… I would not be making as many mistakes
… I would turn out to be a sportive person
… I would be conscientious
… I would learn to be more positive
… I would eventually get good grades
… My notebooks would eventually look neater

… I wouldn’t be perfect but I would be a better person

I could think of multiple instances where, had I not used the eraser, what could have possibly happened. I am pretty sure; I must have become a creative genius. Some of you might think how absurd it is to think of dismissing such a genuine invention. Imagine if there was no delete/ backspace keys in the keyboard. You probably wouldn’t be reading this post till the end.

Now, however, our brains are programmed with the idea of erasers. Erasing/ editing/ making better/ being perfect/ neat – all of this are bare essentials to be successful, anywhere.

But think about it, what if we had dismissed the idea at that time? Would we have the technology that we have today? Would the world be any different without erasers?

It is not just erasers; every invention comes with a price to pay. But, as human beings we have the intellect to choose what is wise.

That's all folks!

You can read the original article here: Pencil Erasers may be the ‘devil’


  1. Interesting post. We use erasers to hide/delete our mistakes from others.Another philosophical question. We can erase our mistakes. But can we erase that from our mind? Just fyi. Art pencils do not have erasers.

    1. Thank you, SG!!! :)
      That is another great question! certainly doesn't erase it off our minds... :)
      //Art pencils do not have erasers.// :O oh yea! I have never seen one with erasers... that is pretty cool :)

  2. I agree without eraser we would be more conscious of our actions. :) Wonderful thoughts.

  3. Interesting post to say the least.Never thought of it this way!
    Off to read the article nw:D

    1. Hey Red! Good to see you here :) :)
      Thank you so muchhh! :)
      The original article is a pretty interesting one! B-)

  4. Wise words... Nice thoughts...
    Agree with you... Cheers!

    1. :) Heyy!!! Thank you!!!
      Just an inspiration from what I read... :)

  5. While I agree that we need to make mistakes and learn, why do you think it's not OK to correct our mistakes? We have made a mistake, we realize it, so we correct it using an eraser. What's wrong with that?

    Destination Infinity

    1. I was just wondering how it would be without erasers, we can correct our mistakes even without them.
      To give you an instance, imagine how a strike-through could be better than completely erasing a sentence when editing a post. It would help us 'track' our mistakes/ retrospect over stuff, which wouldn't be the case if we completely erase them. Just my thoughts, here :)
      And, yes, it is absolutely OK to correct our mistakes :)

  6. Very good post! Gets me thinking about the editing I have to do to a precious little story I wrote :-( hate the whole erase concept! Thank you....Annette


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