Back to basics…
I love to read. Fantasy, non-fiction, history,Â ponderings… doesn’t matter. Have a ton of magazine subscriptions and always have 4-5 books on my “currently reading” list and a dozen on my gotta get to soon list.
I like to write. Have never completed anything. The fragments I keep are pretty good, though I think I enjoy endlessly tweaking the stories. Have no goal of ever publishing them.
Writing is cathartic. Things I probably would never do can be expressed. Creating my own identities to which I relate most closely. Taking essences of people I’d like to capture for all eternity.
This brings me to something that has bothered me lately. Think the thought first started with something along these lines: “Our society is so consumable. We suck things up and spit them out never to use them again.” Have thought using archaelogical techniques to study our cultures would be quite interesting and enlightening. Have read a few articles about that work in the past. That was before computers have become as prevalent and ingrained into our society.
We know about ancient civilizations because their societies created the monumental structures that lasted for millenia. However, we know little about their activitiesÂ away from these structures. How did the Egyptians who were not working on the palaces or tombs live? What did they do? Of course, such non-monumental structures as ruins of houses have been found, but most people do not care about such things. We are interested in the things that have lasted so long.
We do have monuments to the future with writings on them. Many are covered in the names of our dead killed in hopes that war would be the last one. Of course, we continue to have wars.Â How long will these monuments last? I hope for centuries. I dream for millenia. I wish for them to never be torn down and for future generations to undertake restoration projects to preserve their history.
This does tie back into my original thoughts. So much of what our society “knows” is in electronic form. We are truly in an Information Age. The information at our fingertips is astounding. The NSA collects more information than is printed in the entire Library of Congress daily. All of the bits stored on electronic media are in tenuous existences. Have you ever had a hard drive, floppy disk, or CDÂ fail? All of that information is gone unless it is backed up somewhere. We intuitively know our locations for all of this information is so easily lost that we maintain innumerable copies “just in case”.
The ancients maybe had to decide just what was important to keep for all time. They could not put everything they knew on their buildings. At one time I thought we probably should design permanent structures on which we would record everything most important to us. They could be kept in locations all over the world in many different languages and added to on a yearly or monthly basis.
The problem with permanency is that it becomes outdated. The way things are now, information become inaccurate sometimes months, days, hours, and even sometimes moments after it is recorded. In order to deal with the speed of change, we have to have mediums which are also easily (and almost effortlessly) changed.
Does this mean nothing should exist for all time (or as long a possible)? Of course not. The trick may be deciding what. What if humans mostly died off (not unlikely considering our activities and values)? What would our successors know about us? They would know tons about our ancestors, but probably little about us.