Friday, 4 May 2007


Have a look at this photo. It shows the winged goddess of victory, Nike of Samothrace. The original stands in the Louvre museum in Paris. This splendid stature of 2 1/2 meter high was created to celebrate a naval victory in the Mediterranean, about 2200 years ago.

There is however something amiss. Today, nobody knows for sure who was fighting whom and for what reason.

Imagine a time when the Waterloo battle of 1815 that ended Napoleon's rule in Europe is more or less forgotten. Or the battle of Stalingrad 1942/43 that marked the turning point of the Second World War. Could this be? Could this happen?

Those old civilizations two thousand years ago had the good idea to carve some messages on stone. But we, what do we do? Our contemporary paper and print is of so low quality that it disappears in about hundred years. The first movies, turned about a century ago, are chemically so instable that they rot away, or just burn. Let's not talk about the magnetic tapes: even today, we cannot read them if they are older than 15 years. And those DVD's, CD-ROM's, their life is estimated at 50 years but in reality, nobody knows for sure how long they are able to keep the data.

Quite possible that in 2000 years from now, our big, loud civilization is utterly forgotten. Maybe, the archaeologists will go through our junk heaps - armed with a tooth brush of old - and unearth some broken coca-cola-bottle or a frying pen made of stainless steel. I wonder what that will tell them about us. Certainly nothing about Waterloo or the Abba-Group of Sweden.

Interesting times ahead.


  1. Nicely done!

    When compared to those who preceded us, well, that their past still survives, after hundreds of years, guess nothing but plastic in the landfills will all that will be left from our generations. ; (

    What a sad statement! ; (

  2. May I be a pessimist?

    With permisso, then... I don't care! I am so not proud of being a member of the human race, that I would be grateful if at least half of our atrocities were forgotten in the dust. What beauty there is will be carried forth... through the mountains and the waters....

  3. For Tamara,

    Thanks for commenting. Yes, I understand you fully and you are absolutely right.

    Forgetting Waterloo and Stalingrad is far from being tragic. I only mentioned those two events because I suppose they carry some meaning to most of us.

    But there are other things - human achievements - that have meaning
    and the idea they might be forgotten some day makes me sad.
    Like the idea of science, the search for truth by comparison and by checking. Or the idea to have a government that changes by vote of the people and not by slaughter of the previous one. Rule of law. And last not least, our classical music from Beethoven or Mozart.

    All these achievements could disappear if there are not enough people who appreciate them and are ready to defend its existence.

    Future will tell.


  4. Bonjour Georg,

    Very interesting post with which I can identify. Much of Iran's ancient history was burned and destroyed through invasions of Greeks, Arabs and Mongols, including the libraries. It is important to preserve the past for future generations to learn from.

    Btw, I've posted a few photos of Iran which you may be interested to view on my blog.


  5. Hi
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  6. You're right, Georg. It would be a great tragedy if the group ABBA was forgotten clear out of mind ;-))

    But seriously... sometimes when I think of the unknown glories/achievements of the past that we are now deprived of, it really blows my mind, and so once again, I'm left with a certain pessimism that is potentially also very positive -- namely, the idea best articulated by the Buddhists... to live most fully in the present and release attachments to anything else. After all, everything IS in the present... including resonances/ghosts of the past... some of which may appear to us most vividly in dreams... and even in ourselves....

    P.S. I will be deleting my blog shortly, but will hopefully return later. Cheers to you!

  7. For Tamara,

    In case you really decide to delete your beacon on the Internet Ocean, I hope you will be reborn like a phoenix with an other identity (but the same so very attractive ideas).


  8. Another wonderfully thoughtfully thought-provoking post, Georgy. :o) Indeed... Life seems more fleeting now both with the fast pace of our days and the speed in which our trace will disappear after we're gone.

    Maybe it's a blessing in disguise... My mischiefs won't be remembered for too long! ;o)