Social Question

zensky's avatar

What would you include in your package?

Asked by zensky (13367points) August 25th, 2012

Norway recently opened a package from 1912 with instructions not to be opened for 100 years.

Video here

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17 Answers

chyna's avatar

Pictures. I would include pictures of cars, random people to show the fashions, streets and buildings to show how things used to look, houses to show the McMansions that will be in ruins 100 years from now. Pictures of gas prices, pictures of grocery stores that have sale prices plastered on their windows. Just all the things I like to look back and marvel at.

filmfann's avatar

Examples of the wonders of our age:

An iPod, loaded with music from today
A bit of Fiber Optic
An iPhone
and maybe a Hot Pocket.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Time capsules are such an interesting practice. Thanks for sharing the link.

Hmm, what to put in the package?
* How about a world map? Countries and territories seem to change frequently.
* A list of diseases we are still trying to cure today with a note that says, “Hope that they have found a cure by the time you read this.”
* I like @chyna‘s idea of including current prices and styles. It’s enlightening to look back on old dept. store catalogs.
* Letters from representatives of each nation that talk about their current situation.

@filmfann LOL! A Hot Pocket.

ucme's avatar

A copy of the official film from the London olympics, just because it was awesome, inspiring & retails at £19.97 or £22.97 if you prefer higher resolution quality afforded by the wonders of blu-ray.
That’s it really, or maybe i’d insert a pic of Mickey Rooney, because he’ll most likely still be alive, even then.

CWOTUS's avatar

Eh, I don’t suppose there’s a lot from 2012 that’s so much worth saving. I might root around in my odds-and-ends drawer or the closet under my cellar stairs to see if there’s something from the 1960s or 70s that’s worth keeping. And I’m not including much music of the day in that package.

By 2112 they can have my package, but I’m still using it now.

Is it a big enough package to include Mitt Romney and Barack Obama? I’d pay to make the box big enough to accommodate both.

Trillian's avatar

@zensky Out of curiosity, would you put yours in a Zenvelope? With instructions on when to Zenvelopen it? (Crickets chirping)
(Hangs head) Ok, I’m leaving.

zenvelo's avatar

I’d add some offbeat things, like SPAM, Hamburger Helper, maybe a CLIFBar. I’d add some archives of popular websites, like a cross section of Facebook pages from people of various ages. And of course an entire active day of Fluther.

And I would put in water samples from famous places to compare with 100 years from now: the East River in NY, SF Bay, the Thames, the Seine, the Nile and the Ganges.

(I would be embarrassed/ashamed that our descendants find_Fifty Shades of Grey_ is the best seller at the moment.)

Berserker's avatar

Old zombie movies. Ones that I think may, mostly, be otherwise lost in the sands of time. Then they would be preserved for all zombie nuts to enjoy. I really wish someone had done that with a VHS copy of Maximum Overdrive.

zensky's avatar

I think I would put an iPhone in there, next to a Samsung. Just for fun. Ouch.

Jeruba's avatar

I wouldn’t put in anything that can easily be seen by anyone doing historical research, such as documents and photos. I’d be most inclined to include concrete objects that somehow represent our time and are also likely to become obsolete in another century—and won’t already be preserved in museums and whatever passes for libraries.

For instance, I would expect samples of books and video media to be readily available, just as we can easily find photos and letters and so on from the early 1900’s.

How about a paper telephone book, a condom, a pencil, a manual calculator, a plastic shopping bag, and a pair of leather shoes?

Bellatrix's avatar

However, in the future perhaps those letters will not be available @Jeruba. How many people write letters these days? I have received many wonderful emails over the years but I have printed off very few of them. I have spent the last year delving into letters from the 1830s and they tell me so much about things that were happening and attitudes that were prevalent at that time. It makes me acutely aware of how absent this fabulous source of information will be for historians of the future.

What about some menus from food outlets or programs from local theatres, pubs and the like. Of things I did to entertain myself locally. My aunt was a singer but I have no idea how to find such documents from her time in the 1800s. She wasn’t famous so programs and flyers from her performances would be difficult to find. Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this. My ‘to do’ lists. This idea was mentioned by one of our wonderful jellies the other day. What a tale our ‘to do’ lists would tell.

Jeruba's avatar

I was answering only for myself, @Bellatrix. I’m going on the assumption that everything available electronically now will still be readable, if only with antique equipment, the same way we can now play Edison’s wax cylinders.

What really seems like a loss is the extinction of authors’ manuscripts like the ones you can see on display in the British Museum. Who wants to look at a CD in a glass case? Seeing Jane Austen’s handwriting and Charles Dickens’s crossouts and insertions has an impact you’ll never get from “Track Changes” in Word.

Bellatrix's avatar

I agree @Jeruba. With letters though, and I am sure you have found this yourself, I have been able to go back through the archives and find letters from people who I’m sure when they wrote them would never have thought they would be of interest to anyone. They were just going about their daily business but because there is a hard copy letter, they end up filed in a box or a filing cabinet and hoarded thankfully so we can look at them now. In the case of the work I am dealing with now, the Lieutenant-Governor of the State I am interested in was obsessed with record keeping so there are lots of things available. Plus a whole series of handwritten journals from another important source.

In contrast, in our recent State election tweets/Facebook posts made by politicians in the lead up to the election were taken down almost immediately some of them were not elected/lost their seats. That info is gone. Yet in the future, people wondering how we communicated democratically in the 2000s will want to see those posts/comments. Historically, we could dig through letters, letters-to-the-editor, journals and the like. Even if the writer destroys his copy of the letter, the carbon copy or the receiver may remain out there somewhere. If something is erased from the electronic record, those posts/comments won’t be there. People can so easily destroy them.

A biography of one of our former Prime Ministers has just been published and some of the research relates to letters/notes written by the Governor-General and relating to a major part of our political history. That someone kept the notes and letters from other parties allows us now to look back retrospectively and say “we didn’t know that person was involved at all”. So fascinating.

I hope you are right and much of this content is kept – somehow – I am not confident though and it will be a huge loss to future historians. Sorry if I derailed your thread @zensky. It is such an interesting question though… what will people in the future want to find in our packages.

Jeruba's avatar

I wonder if you got the impression that I was arguing against the historic value of letters, @Bellatrix. By no means. In fact, I wasn’t arguing at all.

All I was saying was that for time capsule purposes I’d be inclined to think of things that aren’t already the standard items to preserve. People know about letters and do save them. So there’ll probably be plenty of correspondence in some form already on display or viewable in a hundred years (including all that is already in archives and museums now; it’s not as if our present historic documents were going to be wiped out). Condoms, maybe not. Hence the idea that they might be a historical curiosity to actually see and touch in 2112.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think my contribution would be y’all’s. That is, I’d collect all of Fluther’s questions and all of the responses and put them on secure, non-magnetic, archive-quality disks (or solid-state memory, even better, perhaps) as an example of the kind of writing that could be done by ordinary folks in their spare time, for pleasure and assistance, with no hope of monetary reward.

Maybe I’d edit out Randy and his BS. But maybe not. Maybe not. Randy is part of our age, after all, physically and virtually. Maybe I’d put a few years’ worth of spam on another disk or twenty.

augustlan's avatar

I will moderate all that Randy stuff right out of your package, @CWOTUS. :p

I think I might include some kind of alcohol that improves with long aging.

Bellatrix's avatar

Not arguing at all @Jeruba. Discussing I hope. I was commenting more on your ‘I’m going on the assumption that everything available electronically now will still be readable, if only with antique equipment” my point is, that it will only be readable if the content is still available. It is very easy for the writer to delete content and for no copy (electronic or otherwise) to remain. So printed emails/Facebook posts/Tweets and the like may be the only way some things will be available and so might be good things to put in a parcel. Tweets are apparently being archived by the Library of Congress but whether we will have access to the whole archive is something we won’t know until the content is made available. I wonder about what will be available to historians in the future.

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