Friday, December 30, 2011

Vandals or cultural representatives?

While I was away for the holidays, I went for a walk on a dirt road which is surrounded by forest and a lake. This is one of the places where teenagers go to do things their parents don't approve of, like drinking. The forest is full of boulders, and young people like to put graffiti on the boulders. We think of the people who put the graffiti on the boulders as vandals.

Looking at graffiti on a boulder, it occurred to me that maybe some centuries in the future, some archaeologist will look at that graffiti as they try to understand our culture, just as we now look at cave drawings to provide insights into the cultures of the past. At the time those cave drawings were made, were the people who made them rebellious teenagers committing vandalism?

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