Friday, December 28, 2007


When interacting in the web, are we fully aware that all of our utterances, articles we wrote, posts we sent, pictures we published, rants, jokes, praises, mistakes, sins, will likely be navigating the humming vortices of the net for ever after, being archived and replicated in servers of ever-increasing capacity, for coming generations to occasionally stumble upon and bring to the surface like mosquitoes trapped in amber?

In Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian, the Emperor comments on the inscriptions scratched by casual visitors all over the stony legs of the Colossus of Memnon; one of them was done by some Eumenes six centuries before the time of Hadrian, and that impulsive sign is all that remains of its author for the eternity. Up to our days, the fraction of humankind that has left some sort of personal imprint (fossil bones, handcraft, inscriptions, intellectual work) after their death is vanishingly small. With the advent of the Internet and our progressive immersion into digital life, this fraction could easily rise to 100% in a few decades, providing every one of us with a cheap and unexpected form of immortality.

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