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“A society is judged by what it mourns”

Gorilla Coffee is one of those places etched in my memory of Brooklyn, great coffee and a great place to hang out with people. I was getting the former to do the latter when I noticed the tattoos on my Barista (this makes me wonder if Barista is gender specific Is there a Baristo and a Barista? But I digress). In the crook of each elbow there was a bird pierced by an arrow. This unusual tattoo was mirrored on the other arm and I had to ask the meaning. “ They commemorate sailors lost at sea” was the reply. Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t think there are all that many sailor lost at sea these days, but, alas, there holding my coffee I was proved wrong.
Of course people get tattoos to mark life’s passages, entrances and exits yet we don’t seem to carry this physical reverence to the digital world. In the electronic world there is nothing more to mark a passing than pushing the delete button and emptying ones recycle bin on the desktop. An e mail love letter, a Facebook friend or an electronic diary can be deleted with the push of a button. Do we think so little of our digital memories that we see them as worthless and make no notice of their passing? Have we no sense of morning in our digital world? Bertol Brecht once said, “A society is judged by what it mourns”. If that is the case we must hold our digital reality in such low esteem that like smoke rings they can be wiped away with just a wipe of our hand with no thought to their passing or existence?

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