For a while, the History Channel was chock full of Armageddon-type shows with everything from how the planet will be destroyed from forces in the universe to mega natural disasters lurking right in our back yards. It’s fascinating stuff and poses a lot of questions. After watching several marathons full of these shows it really makes you think how fleeting our existence is on this planet—and it makes you wonder if anything we’re doing today will really matter at all a few hundred or a couple thousand years down the road.
Life After People was one of the shows I was hooked on. The premise was simple: What would happen on earth if people just disappeared? They don’t say how everyone disappeared. Could have been a plague, or it could have been zombies (at least that’s what Alan, my friend’s 4 year old son seemed to think). Could have been anything. The fact of the matter is the human race is completely gone.
Nothing Lasts Forever – Or Does It?
What the program showed me was very few of our modern marvels seemed unable to withstand the tests of time and elements. Without humans around to maintain our national monuments, bridges and cities, all of them will eventually fall into disrepair and disappear, and Mother Nature herself will reclaim all of it.
This led me to another thought. Think about how much we rely on the false security of the online world. Is that really such a good idea? As humans we have this need to leave behind some kind of legacy. Our ancestors did it. They carved stories into stone, built huge temples and other monuments just to say “We were here!”
After several thousand and sometimes even millions of years, we’re still finding these bits of history. But what about our history happening right now?
Everything we do these days is on our computers. We write our stories, create our art, send letters and keep journals all in the virtual world. What if there was no more electricity to run computers? What if a blast from a magnetic pulse knocked it all out? A CD or DVD would be nothing more than a pretty shiny disc with no way for future explorers to view what’s on it. All the empires we’ve built on our websites and blogs—gone. With digital cameras there won’t be any film or photos left either, unless people still bother to print them out and put them in actual photo albums.
It won’t be like today where we might find an antique stash of correspondences of love letters between a Victorian couple, or an Ann Frank diary in an attic to give us a glimpse into the everyday life from ages past. There wouldn’t be any stone tablets to decipher or treasure filled tombs to unearth.
All our information will be locked away behind lifeless monitors, useless devices, and dead, silent keyboards.
Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing
The internet is not the whole world. It’s a tool to connect you to the world. How can you use it to create something solid, something that will stand up over time? If you’re making art, do you make prints? If you write, will you publish your work in an actual print book? Or will it all just float for eternity in the ether?
The beauty of everything we do online is it started out as a physical product. Somewhere along the line, in a relatively short period of time, that balance shifted. Use the internet as a tool to create reality, not the other way around.
Take a look at what you do online, whether it’s for fun or for a living. How can you build something to last?
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