However crucial, ubiquitous, connected, unforgettable: anything anyone knows is to eventually die — to become knowable no longer; in a distant enough future, all of current knowledge ends up unintelligible — terminally irrelevant for any living mind. Not just indecipherable: it wont happen to anyone to decipher it; for all intents and purposes, such residue — extinct knowledge — is as good as noise: no longer surmisable for data, so alien that not even its regularity or redundancy can be artificiality clues. This is what the natural drift of generations of minds presumably leads to: not a bit is ever flipped in the data itself.  ■    Residue is a vividly speculative notion; half-serious discoveries (of something undiscoverable pretty much by definition) have prompted all kinds of reinterpretations and ownership shifts. For better or worse, an ancient inscription is “still” only more fascinating when you cant read it: were allegedly way too young as a civilization for true residue to form, let alone accumulate — as in some predictions — to “completely engulf the island of memory” (compare entropy explosion; heres another cosmic silence theory: all we can hear in the Universe is someones knowledge rotten down many times over).  ■    A sombre reminder of “one true death” — of the dark beyond the last rething — residue also serves a metaphor for memory without content: for that fleeting sense of “something was,” a deep-past echo, a no longer legible nostalgia… a reminder of the painless — traceless, guiltless — way to forget “if we must.” “Another mass neurosis of the fadeout era” prods one to build up worlds memories, fosters (sometimes unhealthy?) retention: whips a soul to recite, rewrite, relive.

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