Ong considers the study of oral/literary study, a relatively new field in the mid 1980s, as a discipline which may prove useful in creating unity across the broad spectrum of humanity. He thinks this because the study of orality and literacy frequently digs to the root of historical, cultural, and technological challenges which are universal in their application (Ong 1987, 372). Orality is a universal human trait. Therefore, when orality and literacy interact, they do so in similarly universal manners. The study of orality has also been applied to literate cultures and is demonstrating that literate and nonliterate people alike depend on forms of orality (Ong 1987, 374). While orality is relatively easy to identify, literacy proves much more difficult to classify. It is the interaction between orality and literacy which provides context (Ong 1987, 376).
Ong asserts that the human mind needs something outside of itself so as to process difficult questions, such as those of philosophy or science. These tools exist in a limited way in orality, but more so in literacy. The concept may arise in orality, but is normally dealt with in the context of literacy (Ong 1987, 377). Ong provides a number of such questions which are analyzed more effectively through literacy.