If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Would You Put In A Time Capsule?

I was on a web safari, just looking at interesting stuff, when I found this article. It's about the opening of a 100 year old Time Capsule in Norway.

Back when I was a kid, it was kind of a thing to make a Time Capsule--a collection of things that were representative of you and your time, all put together and locked away or buried for later generations to dig up and admire mock wonder at.

Okay. I'm not really sure why we did it. We just did.

I suppose it was because, in the 60's and 70's, as the space program was flourishing and new discoveries and theories were becoming mainstream (I remember my fifth grade teacher being very skeptical of the theory of Pangaea, if you can believe that.), people must have felt like we were progressing so rapidly that we would never remember what things had been like before ball point pens and Tang. Maybe they wanted to keep us connected to those former activities?

I'm pretty sure I took part in several Time Capsule events. One was in about third grade. We all wrote a page about who we were and what we expected life to be like in 100 years. I'm pretty sure I wrote about robots, flying cars, and living on Mars. Our teacher was going to take all of our essays and bury them in a time capsule on the school grounds so future children would be able to dig it up and read our predictions (and laugh?) as part of their class assignments.

I think that was pretty considerate of our teacher, to be lesson-planning so far in advance, don't you?

I don't know if she ever really did bury them on school grounds. You know how kids are always in the moment and then, once the moment's passed, they move on to something else. I'm pretty sure no one ever asked about the Time Capsule again. Doesn't really matter, anyway. The school has been turned into an addiction counselling and rehabilitation center. So, no one is going to be digging up the grounds to read any third grader's essay on the future.

I was also in jr. high at the time of the U.S. Bicentennial. If you can remember, there were more Bicentennial celebrations than you could imagine. Everything was Bicentennial this and Bicentennial that. And everything was red, white, and blue--from the food you ate to the clothes you wore, to the places you went. Listen, I went to a haunted house at an amusement park that summer and all the monsters were dressed in red, white, and blue. I'm not even joking.

Anyway, there were several Time Capsules buried that year. One was part of the city-wide celebration. I was in the band (yes, I was a band nerd) that played during the celebration. The mayor at the time read a letter from the citizens of our town and displayed several items (photos, etc) that would be included in the capsule. And everyone who was part of the celebration got to sign the letter. That went into some kind of monument at the Courthouse. I suppose it's still there.

In addition, as part of the History Club at school, (yes, I'm really outing all my nerdtastic secrets now, aren't I?) I took part in our Time Capsule project. I can't remember everything that went into that capsule. I know we wrote letters. And we took a Polaroid picture (which has probably blackened and separated by now) of our club. I think we put some books and records in there, too.

It seems strange to do that now. Like, will there not be music or literature in the future? What do we expect will happen? Will our great-grandchildren look at our pictures and say "They were just like us, only they wore funny clothes?" Will they listen to our music (if they can find an LP player or an 8-track player) and think "Oh my! These Bee Gees are so old fashioned!" What is the point?

I think, if we are going to the trouble of entertaining our future generations, we should at least make it entertaining for ourselves, too. I propose we write fake letters--talking about our trip to the undersea city of Atlantis.

Now, maybe that's not going to fool anyone only a hundred years down the road. But what if you marked your Time Capsule "Do Not Open Until 3000?" In nearly a thousand years, things would have changed so much that there would be no way of knowing what life was really like in 2012. The trick is to use information that may be available in some form. (Like, you have to think they would know about Atlantis, but would be fuzzy on whether it was real because we referenced our vacation to Atlantis in our letter.) Our great-great-great-whatever grandchildren would pretty much have to take our word for it. So you could make ridiculous claims.

And then, they wouldn't be laughing at how backward and quaint we were. They'd be all jealous and awed of our fantastic underwater cities and talking apes and vampire communities.


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