Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Upon receiving a spooky e-mail

I received a rather unusual e-mail today. It appeared to come from a friend who had died about six months ago (RIP: Brian). When the surprise subsided, and after I'd reflected a little, it struck me that the e-mail had come as a result of someone replying to a comment I'd made to him about one of the posts on his blog. The blog in question is still accessible on Wordpress and I presume that no-one in my friend's family knows how to close the account. Or, perhaps, they want it to remain as a virtual memorial to him. This got me thinking............about immortality. Internet immortality.

We’ve had the concept of space junk with us for just over half a century now… with items floating about in space that have served their purpose long ago, or like the Voyager Spacecraft, have gone beyond their original design parameters. The internet has many sites like Brian's where their owners have passed away, yet the site goes on, like Voyager, into the inky future. Internet detritus can only increase dramatically in the years to come and it is inspiring in one sense; that your work will still have an existence, long after you’ve stopped writing..… or existing. Is this our 21st Century version of immortality, where our virtual presence could go on into infinity, or as long as the server and hosts continue to function? I am reminded of one of my favourite writers from my teenage years, Ray Bradbury, and his story from the Martian Chronicles, There Will Come Soft Rains. Its central character is a futuristic house that continues to function long after its occupants have gone. Bereft of its raison d'etre, I find that immortality rather sad.

(Note to self: leave farewell post on file and instruct executors of will to upload it and leave blog live. I want to boldly go.........)

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