Data loss is an utterly idiotic trauma leaving you feeling like you've forgotten the name of a friend and thus to avoid the possible embarrassment you never speak to them again.

Software can be re-installed. Hardware can be replaced. But the most important things have no prices attached to them and once they're gone, they are gone forever.

"Data" really seems like too small a word for the things that makes life worth living, or perhaps the scope is too great; What I had for breakfast this morning is objectively as much data as the complete anthology of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but the latter is much subtler and considerably more difficult to reproduce from memory.

Then again, breakfast is the most important meal.

Information cannot be destroyed, but it -will- be forgotten. Seemingly trivial details or works slip through the cracks, while time, translation and the heresy of paraphrase ensure that though contemporary interpretations of information may endure, the information itself is lost three print runs ago. (Is it enough to write "5" as a shorthand when what you really mean is "2+3="?)

The death of knowledge guarantees a cyclic nature of time until there is no one left to know anything.

Earlier today, an article was posted on a website concerning the ever-horrifying event of data loss. It discussed how people generally react to such an event, described in a way similar to how people deal with grief in five stages (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance).

Five stages seems kind of ridiculous. If I saw a hard drive of mine die on me, I'd probably jump right to the last stage and just say "Well over."

Despite the ridiculous processes and analogies described, raw electronic data is incredibly important to our society. Think about this: What if tomorrow, every hard drive in the world failed?

You would wake up to discover that for one, you have no electricity, as many power grids are managed by computers. The world's wealth would be basically gone, as all of that data concerning who has how much currency in their account is gone. Perhaps the world's leaders would point fingers at first and would want to start international conflict. That wouldn't work of course, because their missle systems are computer supported, and once 24 hours have passed and everyone realizes that an expected fiery death from an invisible foe isn't actually coming after all, perhaps people will finally have time to reflect and communicate.

"Oh, but people already were communicating with each other before," you say. "They had text messages, web cams and Twitter." But were they really communicating? Were they "talking" or were they "bonding"? Were they really seeing and understanding each other? Maybe without these technologies (and of course the hard drives supporting them), people will have a new perspective. Going from having no advanced tech to having so many options, to nothing again may make people discover something about themselves that they've never known before. By leveling the playing field, maybe people in the West really can sympathize and give a damn about those suffering elsewhere. Maybe a lack of technology will actually bring about world peace.

Or hey, maybe everyone will start yelling on their tech support to get stuff fixed.

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