Writing Into the Future
Back in 1939, a rather obsessive linguist named John P Harrington designed a way of teaching English to the future. You see, the blowhards back in 1939 insisted on leaving a time capsule to be opened 5,000 years from then. Unfortunately, somebody had already figured out that by that time, the English language would probably be deader than a doornail, possibly due to teenagers. Anyway, Harrington said, 'No problem! I'll leave foolproof instructions. After all, I'm a comparative linguist, and the smartest person on my block.' You can see some of the illustrations here. We thought they were pretty funny.
The messages written down by famous Earth persons at the time are kind of funny, too. Albert Einstein wrote this:
'…. people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that also for this reason any one who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror. … I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.'
Thomas Mann wrote something, but it was as incomprehensible as everything else Mann said, so we'll omit it. Basically, he seemed to think that civilisation was a failed experiment. Others wrote similar things. In other words, they wanted to say 'hi' to the future, but even Einstein couldn't for the life of him think of anything intelligent to say. They babbled a bit, buried the capsule, and hoped for the best.
Now, folks, we have the internet. We can keep talking to the future. That's what we do, every day. Oh, sure, 99% of the internet is talking to the present: hey, look at this, it's so five-minutes-from-now, buy this, I need your money, get outraged, it's today's hottest scandal! But hidden among the clickbait, down where the pixels wiggle their toes in the sand at the end of the information pool, there are stirrings. Archives. Things found, examined, commented on, refiled. Things stored away, squirrel-like, for the future to find. When it's ready. When people get over the 'me-myself-and-I-right-this-minute-oh-wow' mentality and start thinking again. When that time comes, children, we will be ready, with going-on-twenty-years'-worth of thoughts that just might be useful to someone.
' Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.' Ecclesiastes 11:1. End of sermon on 'why we write'.
What do we have for you this week?
By now, these illustrations have made their point, I hope: our purpose in being on the internet is to keep the future from thinking insane things about the past. Such as that anybody cared what Thomas Mann thought (besides the Nobel Prize Committee). Or that absolutely every activity on this planet revolved around mudslinging politics. We're here to remind the world, now and for ages to come, that the sun is not only a star. That day and night, summer and winter, are not merely phenomena. That here in this space/time, humans and other creatures live, love, and play. They try to make each other laugh, and they try to show they care – and occasionally, they say something that somebody else might need to hear.
So read, enjoy, discuss, share. Send more Stuff – I'll get to it as soon as this 'flu permits, I'm moving slowly these days.
And have a great week out there!
WILD STRAWBERRIES AND OTHER FRUITS
Age of Smultron.
Do you have a 'condition'?
To the Future.
Choosing to believe.
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Rogue dentist alert.
Beethoven, rock god.
The return of Baron Trump!
Water and Bach.
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