a writer's journal - politics, music, american culture, esoteric aspects of life, and stories

Tuesday

How it all works

Maybe the most important part of your life is the part that has repercussions on those who will be living a long, long time from now.  You can spend your life building solid relationships with loved ones, amassing and enjoying things; but it takes a certain sort of genius to make meaningful time-capsules and bury them about in a mathematical pattern, to make the sort of puzzles that will fascinate the alien intelligence of our descendants.

You can do this in your spare time, but it's worth really any amount of effort you can afford to put into it.  The curious thing is, it doesn't matter whether you do this anonymously - after all, who will care 3000 years from now what your precise name was or what other things you did here and now.  Do we care what Newton's personality was like?  It's a rather recent tenet of historians of science, actually, that if Newton or Einstein hadn't existed, it would've been only a loss of a few years or so, the discoveries would've been swiftly cracked by men hot on their heels.  The historians like to say, if Bach or Shakespeare had never existed, the arts might look very different today; but science doesn't need particular geniuses, only a steady supply of them.

This is precisely the model of the time-capsule as the simplest, most elemental art form, yet one begging to be explored by artists.  The great thing about time capsules is, they don't necessarily require great artistic talent in the selection of the objects - whatever you put in will be historically priceless and luminously mystical.  It helps, but it isn't necessary.

Consider, if you wrote your life story, very few people today would care.  But in the time capsule!  Can it really be so easy?
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