Will Jarvis – “Time Capsule Behavior”

Posted on Monday, May 16th, 02005 by Stewart Brand
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Will Jarvis

Time capsule secrets

High school classes and world’s fairs do it. Universities and builders and companies and municipalities do it. They bury little hoards of things they think people in the future will treasure— the future being ten years or ten thousand or never (most time capsules are immediately forgotten). Something strange, deep, and rather endearing is going on.

Time capsules are about talking to the present, not the future.

That’s the main thing I learned from William Jarvis’s hilarious expose of time capsule reality last night…

Read the rest of Stewart Brand’s Summary

  • est il availible en Francais, my English not good

  • Time Capsules are fun and can be a slice of the past – My suggestion would be to make sure they wait at least 2-3 HUNDRED years before opening. Life advancement that can fit in a time capsule is moving to slowly to be interesting after only 25 -30 years.

  • Well done, nice post, comprehensive and well written. Thanks :)

  • Sean

    Seems like this is the only talk to not have been published as a podcast, but there also doesn’t seem to be a transcript or the FORA streaming video. Any chances of that changing?

  • nuncdimittis

    The popular “time capsule” ceremonies are great fun for a fleeting moment.  It is a way of involving children in a sentimental exercise that is usually forgotten before the week is over.  But archeologists will learn much more about our society by digging up trash from the local landfill.  Or, better yet, they will study the great events of our times by reading the books that were carefully preserved in libraries. 
    I have occasionally asked people if they remember attending a “time capsule” ceremony, a few years after the event.  Most have either forgotten entirely, or they express a lack of interest in trying to recall where the thing was buried. 

    Thank you, Mr. Jarvis, for your amusing but cogent observations. 

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