“The capacity to mass-produce books was incredibly subversive to medieval institutions, just as microtechnology will prove subversive to the modern nation-state. Printing rapidly undermined the Church's monopoly on the word of God, even as it created a new market for heresy. Ideas inimical to the closed feudal society spread rapidly, as 10 million books were published by the final decade of the fifteenth century. Because the Church attempted to suppress the printing press, most of the new volumes were published in those areas of Europe where the writ of established authority was the weakest. This may prove to be a close analogy with attempts by the U.S. government today to suppress encryption technology. The Church found that censorship did not suppress the spread of subversive technology; it merely assured that it was put to its most subversive use.
... Many apparently innocent uses of the printing press were subversive because of their content. Merely the spread of knowledge of the fortunes to be earned by intrepid adventurers and merchants was itself a powerful solvent dissolving the bonds of feudal obligation.
... Publishing also helped destroy the medieval worldview. The greater availability and lower costs for information led to shifts away from a view of the world linked by symbolism rather than causal connections.
... A symbolic mode of thinking not only complemented a hierarchic structure of society; it also suited illiteracy. Ideas conveyed by symbols in woodcuts were accessible to an illiterate population. By contrast, the advent of printing in the modern period led to the development of causal connections, employing the scientific method, for a literate population.”