The past few weeks, I’ve been doing my daily Bible reading in Kings and Chronicles.
I’ve noticed, of course, that these books are highly concentrated. Whole generations can pass with the words “So-and-so was king for so many years, did such and such, and was buried with his fathers.” And, of course, far more must have happened in his life, and in the lives of his countrymen, than met the book’s author’s criteria for being published. Indeed, we are told to consult other record books, which presumably the author had reference to, but have been long lost to us. And I expect that if we ever did find copies of those other record books, we would find that they were also highly concentrated, and probably filled with minutia that most of us wouldn’t care about, while ignoring matters that we’d really like to know more of. (And that’d be true no matter what was in it.)
But you know that there had to have been people marrying, people being born, people dying, all over the place. People worried that the crops wouldn’t come in, that their merchant ships would sink, everything else that people worry about. All condensed down to just a paragraph on a page.
And just thinking about it, made me wonder what our history is going to look like, to people in the future. Will it also have everything we consider important condensed down to a paragraph, and probably the wrong paragraph at that?
It’d almost have to be, to everyone except the poor fool who is stuck researching us in depth. At least that person will have no lack of information to choose from, though most of it won’t mean much. Will he conclude that we worshiped cats with poor grammar? Or will some other assumptions that are so ingrained in us that we can’t even see them jump out at him, and make him assume we’re even more foolish than we’re ready to admit?
Ultimately, though, to most people, these years that we’re living through will just be dates to memorize, and eventually to forget even those.