I’ll tell you a secret. I am an Atlantis freak. That is, I strongly believe that highly advanced human civilizations have risen and fallen perhaps countless times on our planet – with only a few broken down megaliths as evidence. Newsflash: Everything we make is impermanent, unless we make it absurdly huge (so as not to be completely lost under the jungle or the sand) and we make it out of freight train sized granite (so as not to crumble into dust.) The ancients knew this.
Almost everything we’ve got going on now will be completely lost to the future, just as it was for our ancestors, who, I think, also had flying machines and nuclear weapons. When the shit hits the fan (as it is bound to do over and over again for all eternity) so far the only thing to describe us will be Mt. Rushmore. And hopefully the “10,000 year clock” that is being created in a mountain in Eastern Nevada by some forward thinking friends of mine.
Imagine the reception Mt. Rushmore will receive when a future people, mired in a post-apocalyptic dark age, find it and gaze at it. What will they assume about our civilization from this sculpture of stoic-faced giants and its nearby “temple” structure? It is my bet that they will assume our shrine to democracy is a pantheon of ancient gods. Example: The pyramids at Giza – they are considered to be temples and tombs, even though there are no carvings in the great pyramid and absolutely no sign of burials of any kind. Could it be that the pyramids were irrigation machines? Storehouses? Power plants? Or simply monuments that were created to be found by us – a message meant to last for eons, just like our Mt. Rushmore. The very purposeful mark of a lost civilization that wanted the future to know it was advanced enough to create such perfect structures…
Now you’re probably wondering why I am posting about lost civilizations. It’s because I just finished devouring an excellent book from a very fun publisher (Bear & Company/Inner Traditions, their catalog is a trip) – the book is called Ancient Egypt 39,000 BCE: The History, Technology, and Philosophy of Civilization X.
So there you have it.
P.S. Here is an example of the lovely sort of cultural ephemera we’ve created that will not last a sigh.
P.P.S. Oral histories will be passed down and become myth. Books will crumble. Kindles will evaporate. So keep talking as you write, tell your stories after you’ve written them down.