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How do you think history will judge us?

Throughout history there has been good times and bad times, generations which have fundamentally changed the world, and those that haven't. So my question to you all is how do you think history will judge us?

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    Aug 28 2012: we will be remembered as the age of aquarius.

    rampant consumerism and the pursuit of profit for profit's sake will be two characteristics of 'our' age.

    but remember

    "history is a pack of lies about things that never happened told by people who were never there" George Santayana.
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    Aug 28 2012: We will either be judged as the generation that united humanity as a species, and conquered the solar system... Or, the boy who almost destroyed the world.
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      Aug 28 2012: well i like this comment. the future sees not what is typical of an era, but what is its effect on the future. what we call "the age of discovery" might look very different from inside. only a few people engaged in actual expeditions, and only kings and lords benefited. the majority of people was largely completely ignorant about them. but in retrospect, these discoveries proved themselves the most notable progress of the era.

      today, we might be, viewing from the inside, ignorant to the most fundamental changes to the course of human history. we talk about the subprime crisis or poverty or environmental harm, but these might turn out to be minor turmoils. meanwhile, global economy arrived like the thief at night, unnoticed by many. meanwhile, private space exploration began. breakthroughs are happened or imminent in biotechnology and nanotechnology. we observe a radical decline in religious thought. can we be the era of "end of religions"?
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    Gail .

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    Aug 28 2012: They will wonder how we could be so stupid.
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    Aug 28 2012: History is usually subjective, and as it is, our story still goes on and on. We dont know how it will end or who will be the powers that will write believable stories about our time(s).

    We may be remembered as the age of science, advancement in information technology, and enlightenment;
    We may be remembered as the age of materialism, environmental degradation; or for the destructive capacities of our technology.
  • Aug 28 2012: As the most self indulgent and wasteful culture in human history. The dark middle ages were named by later historians, as was the classical era, and the Rennaisance. Should we be lucky and leave literate generations behind us when we are done, they will likely refer to us with a much less charity.
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      Aug 28 2012: My oh my, you're exagerating.
      "Should we be lucky and leave literate generations behind us when we are done"
      Our litteracy has never been better. Sure we've been having quite an impact on wildlife, and perhaps climate, but we're learning, aren't we? And making progress. How about cutting us a little slack, for our achievements in genetics, quantum physics and for finding the damn boson?
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        Aug 28 2012: I agree with both of you... Our literacy has never been better, but have you seen the best seller lists nowadays? We're not exactly reading at a college level : p

        Creation and destruction.
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          Aug 28 2012: Yeah... The best seller is still the Bible... so I take back what I said about modern litteracy.
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        Aug 28 2012: For awhile it was "The Secret", lol.
  • Sep 1 2012: Guilty!
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    Aug 29 2012: Actually Scott how do we know for certain that something won't come along and knock out every hard drive on the planet? Most of us here grew up without Pc's so we can imagine having to rely on the newspaper and books Hmmm i wonder if it will be us who would cry the most if something did happen.

    I was just musing as i was getting the sense from everyone who posted that there is a sense or assurety that all things will be written and recorded and passed on for future generations,that the net will survive everything.I wonder if some bright spark out there will stumble across a way of recording on a developed material in book form that doesn't rely on electrical stimulus but remembers? everything that has been written on it and just by swiping ones thumb left or right on each sheaf can cycle through past and present writings,please don't say "Why when we have ipads and iphones" it's just musing at this sense of definite historical assuredness.
    • Aug 29 2012: I agree with the disturbing trend about how things seem to be going more and more into the electronic world, honestly this is kind of a terrible thing, people need training on how to do things without computers (think airport check-ins) while at the same time creating hard copy (paper) printouts of information and great works, because technology that relys on a stable grid is bound to fail eventually
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        Aug 30 2012: The stable grid may fail, but the overall loss of information will only occur if that grid was a "single point of failure", something computer professionals are very familiar with. The layman's description of it would be called, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

        Storing historical records on electronic only dangerous if the loss of data on that one computer (or the entire electronic "grid") would result in the loss of all data forever. If the data is "backed up" in some manner, then you haven't lost anything. A "spark" that destroys the "grid" won't destroy all the hard copy books in the Library of Congress and other places that maintain archives of the same data. Most of the data stored on the computer is just a regurgitation of an original hard copy that is also in existance. Conversly, many hard copy publications are the result of someone writing a book or publication about something that may have originated in the electronic "Cloud".

        As any computer science professional knows, data should never be stored in a manner that could result in the permanant loss of the data from a single point of failure. There is no guarantee that any other form of data storage may not be "lost" either, such as hard copy publications. History shows that. We don't have ALL of the data from the Dead Sea Scrolls because some of it was "lost" due to the type of medium it was stored on, and no backup existed. What if an event ("spark") ocurred today that destroyed the remaing hard copy of the Scrolls? I would hope we would have a backup of what we knew was on it, like on an electronic medium.
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    Aug 29 2012: Those who record the history will play a part.
    And as history has shown, and also the wide range of ideas presented in this discussion already, the "judgement" will depend on who is doing the judging of the historical records.

    Mankind can't agree today on what many historical records "mean". There is a wide range of dissent even amongst scholars in different fields of "expertise". The judgement of our current history will be a combination of who records the history and then who tries to interpret the recordings.

    And if history has shown us anything, any judgements will be influenced for better or worse by the different beliefs, prejudices, values, and even agendas of the people doing the recording and judging.

    But I'm still optimistic about it.
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    Aug 28 2012: History is not usually recorded in the small issues that have been discussed. History is normally written to reflect epic successes and failures that significantly impacted the future.

    David made a valid point that we are reading well but it is not litature that will endure the test of time. On that same line. Our great art of the era is a soup can drawing. Our movies / actors are not in the icon category. Our music is transitory at best. So in review I do not see that we have advanced the arts and maybe even entered a second dark age.

    Economics is a contributor not a historical marker more of a footnote. We have global recession but still not defined as a world depression. This is contributed to bad decisions and poor leadership.

    We have not produced a significant world leader in this generation. No one who changed opinion on a global basis.

    Industry has shifted from the goods provided in the industrial revolution to personal wants not needs.

    Agriculture has went from the local farmer to the large corporate farms.

    The largest impactors would probally be the decline of the Catholic Church from the actions of priests and the rebellion of the Nuns. The introduction of AIDs and the advent of pandemics. The fall of the United States as a world leader. The failure / lack of diplomacy in the world of politics. Political intervention and control of corporate / commercial enterprises. The reduction / loss of small business / farmers. ETC ....

    History will note that the US and Russia led the world into the space age. I think that the findings at CERN will lead us to another frontier and will be duely recorded.

    The history of the US will be decided in the next four years. Either we will stop the fall or go over the cliff.

    In summary: It will depend on who records our history and the impacts of todays actions on the course of the future.

    All the best. Bob.
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    Aug 28 2012: The generation which knew better and didn't manage to change by reason.
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    Aug 28 2012: I think we will be judged as a transitional generation. We are simply a time between times with all its attendant confusion. We are on our way to somewhere = I hope it is peace and understanding.

    I do not think we will be all that interesting to history except in understanding the processes toward understanding and resolution. As a world we are just trying to bring the facts all out into the daylight so that habitual patterns of ignorance everywhere can be addressed and ameliorated.

    Just a footnote is all I think we will be except to locate the advent of computers.
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    Aug 28 2012: The Epoch of the oil spill
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      Aug 28 2012: that is most certainly not. nobody will remember in 5 years. heck, faint memory for most even today.
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        Aug 28 2012: I'm sure oil doesn't degrade over time? or maybe it diffuses if that is the right word.i was thinking of future modern archaeologists and their quizzical puzzlement at finding high levels of oil spread across the planet in the same sediment layers,I remember the Exxon Valdiz,i don't know of any other time in our history where oil spills were common in a 200 year period.

        So long as we are still dependent on the stuff we have to get better at cleaning it up i suppose.
        • Aug 28 2012: crude oil is a natural product and there are actually microbes that can consume it and degrade it. Ironically cleaning up the oil spills is often very damaging to the environment.
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    Aug 28 2012: US means who?
    Will that US be in winning side or losing side?

    Asking as history is written by winners it has got that bias.
  • Aug 28 2012: IMHO,

    In the USA my parent's generation was indeed the Great Generation. Their sacrifices deserve awe. Historians will never find an explanation for how us Baby Boomers could mess up the world so badly while simultaneously developing dazzling technology. On the plus side, it was largely my generation that first developed an awareness of the destruction of our environment that we continue to this day. Perhaps our greatest contribution will be teaching our children and grandchildren to value the living world and treat it with love. Don't continue our big mistakes.