January 18, 2007

What eternal have we produced ?

For any system, living or artificial to span a long time it ought to change. Evolution, change over time are a sure signs of life. Rigidness, immutability and stasis are a no less sure signs of death.

Now, there is an interesting perspective to this. The strive to perfection leads us to creating something absolute, things that will exist forever. Any artist or craftsman would certainly like his creation to last for thousand years. But is eternal unchanged presence good ? By the way, have you ever seen anything eternal recently ?

Look around. Look for perfect. Indestructible. Eternal. See anything like this ?

Plastic, glass, and radiation

Pretty much anything man-made will eventually disappear. Any piece of art will die out. Any building or construction will collapse. But not those three, not in any foreseeable future.

Every single grocery bag will stay forever. Empires rise and fall but the empty milk bottle will swamp around. Radiation will remain invisible, but the half-decay principle will ensure it will only vanish in asymptotically distant future.

Isn't it ironic ? Do we need eternal plastic bags ? No. Perfect milk bottles ? No. But this is what we've got. To make it worse, nothing really complex and useful can be done out of plastic or glass alone. Anything constructed with it will decay and leave around useless pieces of eternal stuff. Somehow we have finally managed to produce something that will outlast us million times. Something perfect. Something perfectly useless and dead.