"swa sceal æghwylc mon alætan lændagas"
|The Seafarer, Exeter Book|
Much more than a new millennium, we have surely entered a new age.
I wonder what the future, confident that there will be one, will call it?
When the Roman patricians buried their treasure and fled, they took the spirit of civilization with them, leaving being the decaying mortality of it: Carved words no one could understand; buildings, aqueducts, roads and monuments no one had the engineering skills to repair or rebuild; trade routes no one had boats or navigational skills to reach; and technological and medicinal tools and knowledge no one any longer could access. Not to mention having the protection of a safe, powerful, and unified government.
|Alfred the Great|
But relentless civilization, truly, one of the most mysterious and awesome qualities of the human species, will rise Phoenix-like from these ashes. In the year 900, an Anglo Saxon scop will compose the epic poem Beowulf, even as the language and nation itself is engendering. Soon, a strong king will lead the country. and poets, philosophers, lawyers, historians and everyday people will be writing, translating, and sharing the knowledge of generations past as a dynamic new culture takes hold. Then, everything will change again in 1066.
I promise, the Normans won't invade. But what if, hypothetically, leaving cyborgs, zombies, aliens, germs and a paradigm moment in the space time continuum aside, let's say the Internet goes down. Perhaps a very wayward asteroid takes out a number of satellites. At the same time, a limited thermonuclear war has ended the global economy as we know it. Electricity is cut off and there are no longer any deliveries of natural gas, oil, gasoline or coal. And if this were not enough, a pandemic strikes. What will the first week bring? The first month? Where will humans be in ten years?
And, when will the next civilization arise? Perhaps on another planet, in another universe, or within electromagnetic impulses that only some futuristic computer can read?