Imagine our current civilization ended up in flames; totally wiped out… a few remaining survivors of the human kind (possibly stripped of all advanced technological knowledge and know-how) started all over from scratch.
In a millennium, every advancement is already long forgotten and our civilization at present is regarded as an ancient one, pretty much like ancient Egypt in our era.
The new civilization follows more or less a similar path as ours to flourish. However, some things have never been invented or some ideas have never been thought of. At least, they invent the notion of archaeology; digging up the past (and trying to uncover our secrets).
Let’s do a thought experiment…
It’s the year 2116; a thousand years from now and the future archaeologists uncover the following:
1. The personal library of a sci-fi enthusiast, which survived a millennium in a nuclear shelter/bunker. All the books that survived are works of fiction…about intergalactic wars, time travel, aliens, etc… and after decades of hard work, they are able to crack the code of our language. What would they think? Would they regard them as works of fiction or consider them as ancient history? We seem to regard every written record of ancient civilizations as real…
2. An email message printed on a browned out paper (actually the paper browned out much later :), containing letters of the alphabet as well as characters like @,#,_,&,* and :). (From the same library mentioned above) Would they combine these symbols into our ancient language and overthink about their function?
3. A dozen autographed baseball bats by some of the baseball idols of our era dug out from the ruins of a sports shop. Luckily, the UV coating on the bats preserved the signatures from smearing out through ages. What would a baseball bat suggest to a culture who has not invented the concept of sports (for entertainment)? Perhaps, a primitive weapon of war; inscribed with an ancient god’s name to channel divine power to the wielder? How about the sports shop? Would the future archaeologists be happy that they unearthed an ancient armory?
4. A huge, curvy water slide in an abandoned amusement park: An aqueduct?
5 A bowling ball… Let me be more specific: A size 14, shiny, purple bowling ball. Hmmm… What are the three holes for? For fingers? But why three? Would they think that ancient humans had two less fingers? Oh wait! That’s how we depict some aliens!!!
The moral of this article?
No matter what your intentions are (when you invent or create something), you will most likely to be misunderstood …