The Act of Un-Erasing


For the Atlantic, Shawn Miller argues that what we decide to erase, through our technology, is often more enlightening that what is kept. Drawing an analogy between Middle Age palimpsests and a 19th-century Italian priest, Angelo Mai, who dedicated his life to finding what past monks had scraped off parchment and written over, Miller wonders what deleted information of ours historians will be interested in examining in the future:

So, the questions we should ask ourselves today: What information are we devaluing now? And what are the ramifications for the future? The answers will be reflected not only on the technology that we create, but on the learning we might hope to leave behind.

Alex Norcia is a writer living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in VICE, The Millions, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Electric Literature, Word Riot, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. He is an editor-at-large at The Offing. More from this author →