Monday, December 12, 2005
Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men!
If you were to zoom into this picture and take a good look at the plaque on the wall, you would see that this skeleton has been dated to somewhere between 2130 and 2230 years BC. That means that this cat died over four thousand years ago. What does that mean for us as a species? I mean, why is this guy's skeleton be in a museum? And how can I get my skeleton in a museum? Hmm...good questions. First of all, who was this guy? There's no way of knowing for certain, but if you were to do a statsitcal model of all the people that ever lived, and what they did for a living, the likelihood of this guy being a blue collar worker (or the tribal equivalent thereof) is exceedingly high. Now, maybe he had a special burial, which would give him a slightly higher place in society. Maybe a priest or a chieftain. But since I don't know if the guy had a special burial (I took the picture a few years ago and haven't been back to that museum since), we can't be sure. Still, regardless of who this dude was, there is still a question to be asked: what is the significance of having this guy's corpse in a museum?
The answer? Humans are packrats. There are a few variables to consider: age, rarity...and...um...that's about it. It doesn't matter how interesting or educational the object is, if it's old or rare (preferably both) we are highly likely to keep it in a museum, or at least pay ridiculous sums of money to possess and show it off. I bet a dedicated mathematician could build you an equation modeling this trend. I mean, if Babe Ruth rookie cards are encased in mylar and stuffed in a hyperbaric chamber, this dude's skeleton is probably under lock and key...oh yeah...it is. And there's security cameras.
So why do we keep this useless crap around? I mean, aside from educational purposes, these things are useless. And Babe Ruth rookie cards (or trading cards in general) are totally fucking useless.
Okay, so educational purposes. Well...so we try to learn about ancient cultures by looking at thier skeletons and how they were buried. I'm pretty sure that scientists have learned everything they can about this skeleton, so why are we hanging on to it? I mean, right now, it's just clutter. Useless, annoying clutter. I took a picture of it, but that's all the further documentation that I need.
We're packrats. I have all sorts of useless crap around my house that I have for "sentimental reasons." And you know something? I think I would be a better person if it all burned up in a catastrophic fire (except my computer, I would want that to survive; it has no sentimental purpose whatsoever beyond the storage of these pictures).
I propose that we go on a campaign to eliminate all the useless junk that we, as a species, have accumulated over the years. Dinosaur bones, human remains, statues, paintings, musical compositions, pots, arrowheads, literature. It's all worthless crap and nobody learns anything useful from it anyway. We still have all the same problems that we've always had. How many jerks have written books about the folly of war? Tons of them! Let's get rid of it. We don't need it! We can live in the now, and forget the past.
And while we're at it, I think we should just completely stop looking to the future. It's totally pointless, since we can't plan anything out properly anyway. Let's just assume, since there's no "hard evidence" to the contrary, that the world will stay the same temperature, continue to belch out oil for our driving pleasure, and that no more animals will go extinct. The future be damned, and our grandkids with it.
So, now that we've eliminated the past and future, what about the present? I think we can stay pretty safe here. No lessons learned from our forefathers (who were they again?), and no reason to look more than a day or two ahead (I think I'll go play Dungeons and Dragons tomorrow night). Hmm... Paradise! Nothing more meaninful than a backrub or a pop song from some teeny bopper idol. That is so perfect. I would live here. Right now. And never think about anything else. Oh, and the best part is: all ideas are original. The statute of limitations would be no more than a year, so you can write a book about whatever you want, and you can't get sued for plagiarism!
My friends, I think I just solved all the world's problems! I mean, let's forget what all our ancestors did! They were all a bunch of screwups; I mean, they're dead, aren't they? And if we stop having them to look at for guidance, we won't make all of their mistakes again. I think it's a perfect plan. Yup. No problems with it whatsoever.