NOTES ON GRAVES
Findagrave.com (external link) is yet another extraordinary net database. It turned up (10.06.99) while doing a google search for Cordwainer Smith (Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger), cult SF writer and author of one of the 20th centuries most important books on psychological warfare. To do a search for someone and be offered a view of their grave is, to say the least, interesting, and affords a rather singular way to learn more about someone...
...that is if they are not one of the 'unwashed' and unremembered masses. Alamut context: See the George Orwell quote and entry for 'Good Friday' (02.04.99):
"They riseout of the earth, they sweat and starve for a few years, and then they sink back into the nameless mounds of the graveyard and nobody notices that they are gone. And even the graves themselves soon fade back into the soil. Sometimes, out for a walk, as you break your way through the prickly pear, you notice that it is rather bumpy underfoot, and only a certain regularity in the bumps tells you that you are walking over skeletons."
And even if they are remembered, how many are remembered for long? Quote from A. E. van Vogt, 'The World of Null-A' (1945):
"After death, the body disintegrated; the personality survived as a series of distorted impulse-memories in other people's nervous systems. As the years flew by, those memories would grow dimmer. At most, Gilbert Gosseyn would survive as a nerve impulse in other human beings for half a century; as an emulsion on a film negative for several score years; as an electric pattern in a series of cathode ray cells for perhaps two centuries."
Think: (1) placeholder for an photo of the enormous collection of human bones that Aernout Mik and I collected from a 'dump' (was that in the fall of 1985?) (2) James Lovelock's essay Immortal Media.
Findagrave was created by Jim Tipton. Below are listed a few of the graves from Tipton's database that I visited and found remarkable.
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