A recent family bereavement has left me with no less questions than ever as to the essence of this human experience we all share but has necessarily shaped the form and flow as qualitative flavour of inquiry. The salience in my cartography of grief has been to discover – or, perhaps, to rediscover – that the mechanical engines of administrative bureaucracy that haunt us all from cradle to grave all proceed and persist even when we do not.
I am reflecting on those radiating information artefacts and systems of knowledge that shroud us like clouds of data extracted to fuel the self-validating propulsive mechanisms of governance and benevolent control. These things contain an imprint and residual image of our passing through their gateways and definitions of identity, of reality and value.
When we leave this world it is as though we were skipping stones that after losing momentum caught our edge upon the surface and there rapidly sunk into the darkness below. The eddies and vortices left in our wake indicate an existential threat to those systems that only exist as reflexive mirrors of our material and behavioural presence, as almost-living things that without us might themselves wither and fade into oblivion and forgetting.
Our departure from this world generates a flurry of administrative interest and activity. As the hollow absence in our shape and as institutional memory so clearly outlasts us, I really must wonder why it is that for most of our lives we must positively fight and struggle to find a foothold or leverage into these systems that so clearly and foundationally depend upon us for their own existence.
On the acknowledgement of the inevitability of any and all of us eventually sinking into the depths: I expect the actual effect any one of us might invoke as echoes in eternity and upon our world will long outlive the shallow ripples of administrative intricacy that record our arc and span across time.
The universe is far more complex than a y mere institutional memory. It does not forget us.