Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Perpetual Mona Lisa

"Mona Lisa", the prized collection of Louvre Museum in Paris, can conceivably last for another 1,000 years with careful preservation, but can it last for 10,000 years or 100,000 years?

Somewhere a young artist is pondering that question today. He is contemplating whether to pursue a career in the traditional oil paintings on canvas or to channel his creative energy in computer graphics and have all his art works stored on Internet servers, digitally and perpetually.

Somewhere in the attic of a literary master, a neglected manuscript could one day be thrown away carelessly or deteriorate beyond repair. But, if the literary master has the foresight to write it with a word processor and have the digital file stored on the Web, that manuscript can be preserved forever.

Philosophers of old were careful not to use words like "perpetually" or "forever" in connection with the concept of "existence", as they had concluded that materialistic things never last -- forgive them, for they had never lived in the Internet age.

Books, films, and works of art could be damaged, burnt by lunatics, or simply disintegrate over time, but by turning them into digital form and uploading them to the cyberspace, they'll be sitting pretty in perpetuity, unless, that is, a catastrophic nuclear war destroys this little planet of ours.

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