Can you imagine how different the world will be in 2000 years from now? Think back 2000 years and you'll get an idea of just how different things could be in the year 4019. Even if humans still primarily live on earth and we do much of the same things we've always done like sleeping, eating and working, everything will be different. The arts we love from the past never dreamt their work would be remembered after their deaths. Would Mozart have ever dreamt that music would be recorded? Would Dickens have believed us if we'd said his stories would be read on screens rather than paper? And what about someone like Da Vinci? Would he have believed us if we'd said his work would continue to be displayed, analysed and appreciated?
The test of time
Artists just don't know what will truly stand the test of time, do they? There's no way even the most famous person can have an inkling of how their work will be experienced and whether or not it will be remembered when they pass away. Will readers still clamber for the stories of Harry Potter 2000 years from now? What about the music of The Beatles? It already seems classic to modern ears. Will it fade away or be classed as classical music at some distant point in the future?
Can we assume that those whose work is already considered classic will continue to endure? Will the works of Beethoven, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Monet, Mozart, Twain and Van Gogh live on? What about the personal histories of some of the world's most famous people? Will citizens of the world in 4019 be interested in the history of figures like George Washington and Queen Victoria? What about a hate figure like Hitler? Will he continue to be so vilified 2000 years from now or will he become a footnote in history? Let's hope for humanity's sake that the Second World War remains the worst atrocity in human history, in which case the name Hitler will continue to be synonymous with megalomania.
Some of the people that shaped our way of thinking like Marx and Darwin should remain well enough known in 2000 years' time because they helped shape our understanding of ourselves. Darwin, in particular, did such a service to humanity that you'd hope he would never be forgotten.
Public Domain / United States Department of Health and Human Services