I have been reading the book Something Deeply Hidden by Sean Carroll for a few weeks now. At the time of this writing I am on page 125 of 325. One of the most fascinating features (other than the extensive ease of ingesting the basics of quantum mechanics) is the valuable volumes of historical references made available, including direct quotes from notes placed in side margins of early drafts of papers that went on to change minds and outcomes in the world of quantum physics, personal communications and photos between colleagues as they debated principals in contrast over brandy and cigars. Such material offers insights into the less than practical ways in which informal postulates strategized into theories, and theories into accepted scientific principal in the smokey backrooms far removed from the well-lit classrooms, laboratories, and conference halls of conventional academia. From approximately 1913 through the early 1970’s, and beyond, the recorded remnants of such exchanges blended color and texture with what would have otherwise remained stark, broad strokes of classical thought. A full understanding of the how’s and why’s, the where’s and when’s behind the what’s added gradient details to my palette of understanding through such access.
Gratitude in the highest for those with the forethought and resources to maintain such data for the pleasure and inquiry of those, like me, who were not yet part of the cosmology of reality but a mere waveform possibility in one of the many worlds to evolve through observation and choice. Appreciation to Sean Carroll for his thoughtful consideration in offering personal perspectives to the text by sprinkling historical seasonings into the pages of his book. It made a vast difference in this layperson’s ability to comprehend and puzzle the pieces of what it means to exist in the quantum.
I’ve been archiving media and data for decades; digital art (both image and film), creative writings, and multimedia of my own design. I also kept all emails ever sent or received from every professional position I held in the early 1990’s forward. They were duplicated on floppy discs and filed away in an oversized, “stuffed to the gills” inbuilt storage cabinet on the 2nd floor of my 1876 Victorian home on Long Island, NY. No one bothered them. No one, other than me, even cared. As a matter of fact my son begged me on the regular to take ’em out so he could have more room for his gaming equipment and supplies.
Planning my departure from the family home on 12/19/2019 I discarded it all since I had no expectation to return and didn’t see when/how I’d make use of it as time journeyed forward. Besides, my only child had never shown sentimental or practical interest in the retainment of photos, personal letters, or anything of that nature, so why visit these files on him when I knew if they were left to his care once I’d moved on to that which awaits one’s exit from physical life he’s simply do what I was doing then. He’d throw ’em all away without a thought to worth or purpose. So I simply did it for him.
Since the early 2000s I’ve archived the same sort of digital data on various cloud storage sites – even way before it became a “thing,” a standard amongst the masses. That was always me – doing things with computers long before it became customary and “easy.” I made my first animation pixel by pixel, frame by frame (cell by cell), way back in about 1991 or ’92. Then I added sound and sync’d the movements of both by creating a batch file of code to run with a few keystrokes to marry the two into a single “short film.” Today, all one needs to do is employ any of a myriad of available, easy to use consumer apps to edit these clips together, but back then it wasn’t something a layperson would or even knew how to do.
I’ve always done this – saved communications and creations – not because I wanted dirt on others, was a hoarder, couldn’t let go, or was ego driven for reasons of personal prowess. I did it to maintain historical records I felt might one day be of utility to future generations.
The thing is, in those early days, since online storage hadn’t even been invented yet, website archival like “The WayBack Machine,” (nka https://archive.org/web) were only an idea in the mind of its creator, algorithms like Google’s were no more than an unformulated dream waiting to be pulled down from the ethos, and Agency/Corporate spying of the mass digital kind was years off in the implementation, I had no concept of what to do with the data. I only knew it had value… evolutionary value.
As the first online storage services became available – through early file management systems like Erols dot com (no longer active*) – I started the “dumping” process. All of my first animations, morphing attempts achieved through my own efforts (computer coded self-created software applications), photoshopped art, short stories, and so forth were uploaded and forgotten. The emails, tho, were never converted and stored – lost forever.
Then, as storage got cheaper and computers got faster and more sophisticated, the prolific coding I’d mastered to create such imaginations was made obsolete. If I mentioned today, for example, as I did above, that I created animations pixel by pixel, cell by cell, syncing properly timed audio by use of coded batch files into an end product – the short film, no one would blink twice with wonder. If anything, folks would likely ponder WHY I put in so much effort when such doing seemed anything but what it was at the time. . . avant garde. Today such possibilities are common, everyday occurrences by the millions; so much so it no longer has cachet as a unique mode of creation. Instead it is a mass produced, ever present shouting match to see who’s mind-to-media creations will go viral with the most Likes, Shares, and Comments.
Such advancements offered the ability to maintain years of emails right on my laptop and convert to backup files I could then upload to any device. Again, I felt such data could have future, historical reference / applicability, or at least cultural interest in times yet to come.
However, as long-time relationships began to crack or end; relationships that generated hundreds if not thousands of exchanges, I discarded them from my folders. This time it was because the archives generated surprise reappearances during regular searches bringing back the pain of relationships lost. To circumvent the barotrauma of a deep dive into an ocean of memory I decided to implement a system of removal of all personal messages that could cause such a delayed reaction. Results, communications once again lost forever.
If I’d only had the time, money, and resources to have maintained a digital record of all I once had, who knows the impact some of it could have in the lives of those yet to be born. Mindsets of lawyers and other players in some of this countries most influential court cases. Early efforts at coding by one creative breadcrumbing the path our culture took to reach the technology age now enjoyed. Art that defined the decades. Love letters and familial exchanges to highlight how one person dealt with emotions, challenge, and the day-to-day of life. Communications detailing spiritual and contemplative experiences, like those of the physicists mentioned above, enabling my own breakthroughs in understanding and further piecing together the non-local “more” that has changed my perspective forever.
And, so much more.
Looking back at the diaries, letters, and other creations of centuries past, it is easy to see how what we overlook as insignificant in our everyday is actually a beautiful library of culture and social structures offering a peak into the world of today for those of tomorrow.
Thank goodness for the courage of those who cleverly maintained the letters, diaries, drawings, papers and records of our forefathers and mothers, without which Truth would have inevitably been lost in translation in the space between.
*No regrets or concern that earlier “dump” sites have come and gone. I am of the mind that due to narcissistic, corporate obsession with data collection/spying has, and will continue to result in ALL data produced at any time by any one will be retained, in duplicate or mirrored systems, both local and non, for as long as man continues his addictive disorder with power and control. Knowing this, I use such madness to my favor, being aware my digital contributions will live on for millennia even if the original sites from which such data is scrapped mist away into nonexistence.
Note: Banner / Blog post placeholder image is a photo I took on 8/24/2015 while housesitting in Tucson, AZ. It features one of my favorite spots to create; w/ front street view on left and one of two expansive gardens - with running fountain - behind. To view the full-sized, uncropped version in a new window click here.