Today, while out walking, I came across a stone bench that appeared to be very old. Carved into an ancient looking wall, it was dappled in moss and thick creepers wound their way across its surface.
As I walked on, I turned over in my mind the enduring legacy that is stone. From the construction at Göbekli Tepe in Asia Minor, the oldest religious structure in the world built c. 9500 BC, to the Nile and Indus valleys, the Orkney Isles and the jungles of Yucatán, humanities efforts to outlast time itself are evident.
Lend me the stone strength of the pastand I will lend youThe wings of the future, for I have them.Robinson Jeffers
Perhaps this attempt to master nature and make it bend to our will is a product of belief in a creator-God? Because for the Japanese, who did not share the West’s creation beliefs, another path in architecture was found.
While the Pyramids of Egypt and the spires of Europe sought height, to be the focal zenith of the landscape, temples in Japan reached outward, not upward.
When rock is used, as in a rock garden, it is by way of contrast to the fragility of growing trees. Not an attempt to defy nature, but another means to acquiesce. An attempt at conquest by surrender.
I see a similar contest between centralised and decentralised systems in our digital landscapes. The massive conglomerates seek a maximal user base to establish an enduring legacy. Much like the architects in stone, life might be short but their systems eternal. Decentralised services are not so deceived and walk a different path.
While platforms like MySpace may rise and fall in popularity, the notion of the Fediverse transcends any given instance. Individual ones may predominate for a time, but if their servers are spun down, people will still want to connect and will find another node. This realises the prime object of the internet: to be a network of networks.
The life of an ecosystem is short, but life, and the creators of ecosystems, are eternal: endurance through renewal.