If you want to know what to put into a capsule for 3001, think about what we’d like to see in one from 1001.
We wouldn’t be impressed by their Technology like the latest horse collar or plow or galley oar. Imagine that a thousand years from now CDs and CPUs and Space Shuttles will seem just as primitive.
Their state of the art Sciences like Medicine, Astrology and Alchemy would be ludicrous. By 1001 the major Greco-Roman scientific, military, engineering and political skills had been mostly lost in the West but even where they survived they were pretty primitive by our standards.
There are probably about 11 people on the planet who could read their literature (try reading “Beowulf” in the original) and, even in translation it would have a miniscule audience. The vastly important theological disputes of the late Middle Ages would certainly be in their package but of no interest to anyone today except ivy covered professors (and the occasional plastic fish).
Their art and music might be a little more accessible but still only to a small audience. They would, of course, send us only their best, i.e. the religious stuff, which would be as obscure as their theology.
So what would interest the average guy in the street today?
All the stuff that they never gave any thought to: How do you live in a society which is 99% illiterate? Where the life expectancy is 40 years? Where there is NO social mobility and every aspect of life is governed rigid class structure? What do you eat? How do you dress? Waddaya do on Saturday night after the wheat field closes?
I think what they will want to see in 3001 is pretty much the same thing. What we did for a living every day. What we ate, how we dressed, how we raised our families…what we did for FUN. Nobody will be impressed with Fellini or Stravinski or the Abstract Impresionist du jour. But Harpo will still be funny. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers will still be beautiful. And the powers that be will hate Rock & Roll but the kids will rediscover Chuck Berry and we’ll corrupt a whole new millenium.
Barring the Big War much of what we know today will be preserved, much more than what survives from 1001. And virtually everything that the “serious people” think is important will be ancient history and boring beyond belief. So lets send 'em the really important stuff:
All the Marx Brothers Movies (and the next 87 funniest movies of the 20th Century).
The formula for Guinness.
The Complete Mad Magazine on CD.
The Complete Works of Cecil Adams.
Elvis’ First three albums.
The Complete Duke Ellington/Ella Fitzgerald Canon.
A full color layout of a black on black full boat 1962 Two Top Corvette.
A Video of Provincetown on Saturday Night.
Jimmy Swaggart’s post hooker show.
The “Guy Stuff” thread.
That oughta get their attention.
Lex Non Favet Delicatorum Votis