All the articles in this book have appeared on my blog at one time or another over the last couple of years. They are my thoughts on many topics: Life, people, society, how I feel about something, whatever I felt like writing about.
Some of my writings appear on my blogs, or on other people's web sites. Some just disappear into cyberspace if I don't think they are worth keeping. Unfortunately, there are a lot of those. No matter. What happens, happens. It's not worth worrying about it. No-one is perfect, me least of all. Much of the stuff I write is rubbish and not worth keeping, so away it goes.
The ones in this book are the ones that survived. That doesn't mean that they are particularly good, just that they mean something to me. Perhaps they will mean something to you too, awaken memories or start you thinking.
That is something that I would like to achieve with this book as you read the articles. If they start you thinking then I will be very pleased. You may not agree with me, that doesn't matter, that you think about the articles and form an opinion, for or against, or an argument for or against them does matter to me. I want to start you thinking about the topics of my articles, and many other things. That is why they are here, why I went to the trouble of writing them, putting them on my blog, putting them into a book and having them published.
Saving Earth’s culture, religious and secular.
A recent item in New Scientist described how some religious groups are planning to send copies of their most holy books for safe storage on the Moon. The idea being that if human life on Earth is destroyed, then some of the culture of Earth would be available for whoever came upon it in the future, whether they be survivors of humanity or aliens from another civilisation.
At present it is mainly Judaism that is contemplating the project, but what about other religious groups? Surely, if Judaism is represented amongst the saved artefacts then Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and other religious groups must also be present. It would be unfair and unjust to save only the holy books of one religion, no matter what the people who belong to it think. They might think that their religious books are the only ones that are true and worth saving but other religious and non-religious people would strongly disagree. There would be arguments about the truth, or non-truth, of the holy books of any one religion, and it would give a very biased view of Earthly religious beliefs. As well, there would be dissent from atheists and other non-believers. To be fair, all views, whether religious or anti- or non-religious, atheistic or secular, must be present in equal quantities.
I have no objection to the preservation of human culture. However, I do think that the focus of the project is much too narrow. Religious works, whether of just one religion or all, should not be the only artefacts saved. There is also a need for other cultural artefacts to be preserved, such as great works of literature, whether classical or popular, works of art, sculpture, ideas, philosophies, and so on for an endless list. But surely artefacts of popular culture should also be included. The list soon becomes endless – and also controversial. One person’s important artefacts are another person’s garbage.
Whatever is saved must also include material from the secular and non-religious culture to show that not all Earthlings were indoctrinated into nor believers in religion of one sort or another. The views of non-believers and atheists must be included even if only out of fairness. To save only holy books and other religious material would provide a very biased view of Earthly culture. It would infer that everyone on Earth was part of some religion, which is obviously not true.
There is also the question of whether the originals or copies of important cultural objects should be saved. Should the originals go to the Moon and copies be kept on Earth, or should copies be sent to the Moon and Earth retain the originals? Putting the originals on the Moon might preserve them but they would then be lost to people living on the Earth. If copies were to be preserved, how would they be produced so that they were exactly identical to the original? Obviously, we would want the best, but would a copy do? Is a copy of an important work as good as the original, or does it lack some special quality that makes it important? Does producing a copy of some original work reduce the importance or detract from the uniqueness of the original? These are questions that would have to be answered before any decisions are made to go ahead with the project.