Viewing posts from April, 2011
The oldest extant works of human creativity are close to 100,000 years old (yes, I know, not everyone agrees about this — but just go with it). The artifacts of creativity can be remarkably persistent. Yet the past is littered with silent evidence, fragments and snatches of the stuff that was destroyed or misplaced: lost books, paintings, sculptures, cities. (Cities? Yes: the ancient city of Akhetaten was deconstructed brick by brick, during a religious squabble, and scattered across the desert.) Today we know a vanishingly small amount about what has been lost. Sure, we have some texts that describe or refer to lost items (say, Plato describing Atlantis); but we will never know anything about almost all of the creative artifacts of human culture. They are gone.