After having to read highlights of the romance genre, such as Kathleen Woodiwiss‘ The Flame and the Flower, Cecilia Ahern’s The Gift or Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables for purely academic reasons, on my extended train ride to Hamburg I got to read a piece I enjoy.
Das Jetzikon: 50 Kultobjekte der nuller Jahre by German journalists Tobias Moorstedt and Jakob Schrenk discusses the social artefacts of our modern (specifically German speaking) society in the first ten years of the 21st century. Artefacts that suddenly were relevant to society: USB Sticks, iPods, Coffee-to-Go cups, Crocs etc. They shed light on the historical facts, and reflect on their impact on society. It’s quite an entertaining read (in German) and sometimes insughtful, too.
The most interesting thought I found in the introduction: The US-anthropologist Timothy Jones, who examined contemporary waste dumps like archeologists would examine ancient sites, concludes „that there will be less information available about today’s society than about the Romans“. Most of the remnants of our society leave no clue as to what their purpose might have been.
I never thought about this that way. We produce more stuff in the least biodegradable materials than ever, but in 2000 years how will people make sense of what they find.
Most information of our information overload is stored digitally and thus bound to vanish. Harddisks, CDs, USB Sticks can only store for a couple of years, then their content disappears. There will be no chiseled information of how we felt, what mattered, what we did, what we believed or what we blogged. So… whatever.