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This long weekend (Monday was holiday in Germany), as I had a little time, I was trying to reflect on what we are doing here.
We are discussing matters of actuality, sometimes also of the past; we are people with different cultural, ethnic, political, geographic background, just to name a few.
We are writing for the very present, we think, I am writing to criticize katinga e.g. on his view of the Arab world, or kidefactman is writing to prove his point of view is more valid than mine on those Courage-to-Refuse people, bcairns and his countrymen might be discussing the danger of more terror attacks against the USA, or maybe even the possibility that the attacks of 11/09 might have been avoided.
We are discussing those and many other subjects from our present point of view, in the way we see those subjects today, we are certainly not writing for the generations to come.
Or are we, unconsciously and maybe even unwillingly, writing for those who will come after us?
What's a historical source?
A historical source is something that gives us information on developments of the past. That could be a text, e.g., written by someone who was a political actor of his time, or an eye-witness of something that happened. It could be a monument (monuments don't speak, but can give us valuable information); just think of tombstones of Roman soldiers in Greek or Syriac language found in England. It could be an object, like a coin lost by a soldier in battle. Even a reality like, e.g., the Hungarian people living where it actually does, could be a historical source.
Let's look somewhere into the future.
In twenty, maybe in hundred years, some scholar will want to write a book, e.g., on how the American contemporaries perceived the impact of the attacks of 11/09/01.
He could read old interviews or the memoirs of some politician, the personal diary of some eyewitness, watch old talk shows, read old newspapers, in order to gather material for his study.
But what better material, what better source could he find than those discussion boards, where people discussed the matter without ever thinking that in some distant future anybody would care anymore about what they had been writing, expressing themselves freely only for the very present?
I bet those scholars of the future will even be able to determine our identity, our social status and more, by the information that we gave when we provided our e-mail addresses or our credit card numbers to TMF!
Think of another case.
A grandson of yours in fifty years might want to learn a little more about his grandfather. Most of us don't leave too much written legacy, do we? So there will be this grandson, or maybe some even more distant descendant, wanting to learn how his ancestor felt. Someday he opens a book, an old book of the grandfather of his grandfather, and the credit card receipt for Grandpa's first payment to TMF falls out, slowly flying down to the floor. He picks it up.
He reads it, thinks about it. The next day he calls TMF, or the group that bought TMF 75 years ago. He calls "Successors of Gardner Brothers & Sons Group, Inc." Yes, our archive is still there. You can research it, if you like. We charge a little fee, 999$ a day (think of the inflation, that's not too expensive!)...
Wouldn't you like to learn more about how your grandfather's Granddad felt and thought? You can bet, I'd like to!
So what did I want to say? I don't know. Maybe we should always try to post in the best, most polite, most humorous, most serious, and most of all, most honest fashion we are able to do.
The future is watching us!
Very best wishes
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