for those who come after us
an ingenious speculation on what our descendants will learn about us from our writing
imagine how our descendants, the next civilisation on the planet, will be learning about our civilisation from the stories we write today. it is entirely plausible. look at the ancient tablets we unearth occasionally and instead of the universal wisdom find how one guy stole a cow from another guy and now he was jailed and his family was sold to another guy and then that guy, the one who bought them, gambled them over a tanned eunuch gladiator fight, went to the same jail and there they strangled each other on their dirty togas and died farting. doesn’t sound either interesting or useful but we still can read such things because they have survived centuries and millennia. the internet, however, isn’t written on clay tablets and doesn’t really exist (not even considering that it is, in fact, dead altogether) and has lower chances of surviving the apocalypse, but imagine that somewhere under the soil in Norway, the full internet archive is stored on 3D-printed clay tablets or at least on paper. so, our descendants, those who come after us, will find that archive and start reading. what do they actually find there? what do they learn about us? will we inspire them or make them depressed? will they be happy we’re gone or regret and think about us in the same way we think about ancient civilisations and empires? will they care at all?
(I have a story that muses on an adjacent topic, if you’re curious. this is not a shameless plug because I don’t have shame hence it can’t be shameless because nothing can be reduced to something more nothingey than the original nothing. anyway… enjoy!)
now, you may have envisioned that this post is slowly turning into cynic-flavour noodles being hanged on your ears (i hope you’re not listening to this in audio, that would be just the worst idea ever, don’t do that, please), but you would be wrong! perhaps you have never been that wrong, to be honest. you’ve mastered wrongness, you have. but, if what you’re about to read in this paragraph matches what you have expected it to be, well, hats off, good job. i respect you, buy my book. this post doesn’t try to make you bethink yourself and stop writing about how you can grow your subscriber list, why nazis are dangerous and how they invented pineapple pizza because that information will hardly be useful for people two or three (or four) thousands years later. OR! actually five thousands years later… if you etch this shite on plastic, word by word, it’ll be well preserved for the millennia to come. perhaps that’s what we should do with the internet archive. on contrary, any piece of content will be useful for our descendants. every thing you post and every thing that’ll stay in the plastic internet archive is a record of our time. this is how the next civilisation will learn about our civilisation and they will be fasc-(not fascists, thought that’s also possible)-inated. they will be awed because no civilisation is the same and the way we live will be a dream compared to how they will live. but it’s not about perfection or ideal conditions or “something better”, like greener grass or multisexual athenian orgies, but about novelty and differenceness. they will see how different we are from them and that alone will make them marvel even at the silliest things we do.
they will read our high-brow literature, science fiction, fantasy and werewolf erotica and that will make them ponder whether it was a myth or reality and make them jealous because (unless some genetic mutations luckily happen) they will not have werewolves and their erotica will be quite different. they will be awed by all the multiverse and space travel and tentacle hentai and guides on how to succeed as a content creator and that won’t matter for them if it was real or not. it doesn’t matter if it’s real or not, it says more about our minds than it can possible tell about the world and the universe anyway. they will laugh, they will cry, they will be puzzled. yes, they will be puzzled!
—how’s that possible that those ancient people travelled to Proxima Centauri?”
—aliens built everything for them.
—no, that’s not possible, are you nuts?
—no, you nuts.
—no, you nuts.
—not me, you nuts.
—you both are nuts, folks.
—uh-huh, sure, tell that to your fat mom.
—i don’t even care about how, tho. i rather wonder why they toddled off this planet.
—they didn’t like it here, that’s why.
—they had androgynous elves with three dicks and seven vulvas (simultaneously). leaving this just seems irrational.
—rational is for dorks. team irrational go-go-go!
—obviously they wouldn’t leave those elves here. they took them there, with them.
—what boggles me is why did they need all those subscribers?
—subscribership was abolished only two hundred years later, that’s why. everyone knows that.
—no, you nuts.
—oh, shut up you both.
you can’t imagine how much puzzled they will be! but despite their bewilderment, they will be grateful to us to writing this all down, whatever that is: where to eat in Rome, who killed Kenny and Sean Bean, why the West is doomed, who was the best writer, how many newsletters you should subscribe to, why the universe is made from wiggling micro plastic, and many other curious topics. they will be grateful for all our stories, essays, tweets, novels, all that. even this will be a treasure to learn about who we were.
(well, it might not, it’ll likely be completely pointless and nonsensical. i can even delete it now, right after you read it and nobody will see it again mwahahaha)
but regardless of whether you believe that what you write will be read in a thousand years or not, imagine, just imagine it will be the case, somehow, by accident, randomly, “what if?” imagine that happens and make everything you write a record of our civilisation, a record of our mind, whatever you fancy right now. imagine that happens and imagine what a joy would be to fuck around with those future brains.
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