Monday, January 19, 2009

Advertising in the Year Million.


I am reading a little book now called "Year Million: Science at the Far End of Knowledge." It's a bit deep-dish for me, a lot of mathematics and I suppose the physics is coming--two topics my mind was never able to wrap itself around, but having just read the first of the book's collected essays, I have already found something that's made it worth the extraordinary cover price of $40.

In an essay called "The Laughter of Copernicus," writer Jim Holt theorizes that most of what we know from today will have disappeared by 1,000,000 AD, but two things will survive: numbers and laughter.

I won't go into detail here, I can't actually, I'm not sure I understand it all well enough to write about it, but I am heartened by Holt's thesis that laughter will survive. Laughter, Holt asserts, is based on incongruity, an interrupted syllogism, as in, "the key to success is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made." The reason the survival of laughter makes me happy is simple, if laughter survives, the basics of communication also survive.

So much of what we hear today about advertising, the death of media, the importance of social networks, seems to posit that the very essence of good communication will change. That is so much bullshit. Holt, like me, believes like Dooley Wilson sang "As Time Goes By" in Casablanca:

"You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

"And when two lovers woo
They still say, I love you
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by."

In other words, the fundamental things will still apply 998,000 years from now. There will still be techno-savants blathering on and on about new paradigms and advanced modalities. But in the end laughter will matter. As will clear communication.

1 comment:

Jake said...

I'm a rude and rough bloke, but oddly this post makes me want to tear instead of laugh.