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The easy answer is that it's a natural process. Man is a biologically social organism; it's in the basic nature of primates to herd and cooperate. So is our tendency to communicate with others as explainable as our evolutionarily developed ablility to use tools? Perhaps. The point however, is that we've incorporated this need into the most basic components of our social structure. Where we once existed (as tribes of cro-magnons) with little or no coherent communication, today we cannot exist without it. You cannot imagine a life with no telephone, with no TV, with no radio.
How did this whole communication thing become so important? Well, that has a lot to do with the early importance man put on information. If the information was vital, and not to be known by others, how could one manage to communicate it without everyone else knowing what they were saying? The regular grunts and whistles were too obvious... what if one devised a system that no one else knew about? One where symbols and pictures replaced the spoken words - kind of like Thug's cave painting last week! And we can call it an alphabet! Then we can form an information elite that controls what is known...
That's really been the story for most of history. Information elites have been in control of communication by choosing the various forms it comes in. But I've mentioned this before, haven't I? The same thing is happening again, except this time, it's with computers. You have to learn a new language to keep up with the flow of information, and that new language is UNIX, DOS, whatever operating system you prefer.
But to return from my digression... We've discovered the importance of language and communication in history and society. What does this have to do with living forever? It's an easy correlation, really. The secret to immortality is within everyone's grasp, especially now. All it takes is a little know-how, and some proficiency with communication, and the methods we use to communicate today.
Right now, I'm communicating to you. I'm probably speaking in some familiar voice in your head, even as I type these words across my keyboard. I've succeeded in reaching out to you, communicating to you, crossing time and space to deliver these specific symbols and pictures in their specific order for you to translate and interpret. A being that I was, in a specific point in time, is relating his thoughts and experiences to you as you read this. The wierdest thing is, I could be dead right now. I could be a cold pile of bones in a box in the ground, never to be animate again. Yet I am still managing to speak with you, to talk directly to your brain. Granted it's a one-sided thing, but it's still happening. Isn't that a kind of immortality? Someone could reach into the WPI archives 100 years from now, probably long after you and I are gone, and read these very same words you are reading now.
If I had to choose the most immortal person on the Earth right now, I'd have to say William Shakespeare. Of course, I have American bias and such, but I see him as the most quoted, most influential, most written about author in all of my culture. But there is no one more spoken of, more attributed to than good ol' Will. Is this a dagger I see before me?? Alas, poor yorick... Good night, sweet prince. All the world's a stage, and all the people merely players. What a piece of work is man! What fools these mortals be!
If you have the ability to communicate, you have just as much potential to be remembered, to live on through your words. Now, with the state of communication as it is today, you can live on through pictures, through video. Ever see the movie _Videodrome_ by David Cronenberg? A character named Brian O'blivion lives on through his video tapes of himself, even though he's long dead. We may get to the point where we can have complete recreations of our selves, that can act and speak and think just as we have. We can live on, virtually, instead of physically. I could probably pass on very comfortably knowing that I would live on that way. Who knows? We may even get to the point of transeferring all that we are into a computer somewhere... the potentials for knowledge would really be limitless then, no? Until next time...
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