So as I was reading posts for ideas, I kept coming back to the idea of what gets archived versus what gets censored. The Ansel Adams Manzanar piece added to this feeling as well, and I ended where I am now, wanting to compare the two ideas.
The idea that we can decide what’s worthy of being archived and what isn’t is becoming more and more impossible, though I feel at the same time, it’s becoming a moot point. Firstly, as the world is interconnecting and expanding, it’s harder to agree what is good for the whole. Because the whole is a huge thing, and to say something is better may only have a small majority. There are so many individual cases that it’s unreasonable to try and assign any one of those cases to a larger truth. But as everyone is becoming interconnected, the argument is also becoming less important. With the continued expansion of the Internet, the ability to find information is becoming easier and more accessible.
This moves into censorship. In a way, it’s becoming impossible to censor anything. No matter where you go on the Internet now, it is possible to find whatever it is you’re looking for. Some of those means aren’t exactly legal, and are arguably immoral, but they are possible. There is a reason people say it’s impossible to disappear from the Internet entirely, and that’s the key to my argument. It is impossible to remove something entirely from the Internet. Effectively, we have created the largest archive in the world, one where things can no longer vanish and anyone can add to it. This defeats the idea of the archive being limited or exclusive. As long as a person can access the computer, they can access an archive.
This challenges the idea that anything can be prevented from being added to this archive, and the archive itself. More importantly, I think it means we need to readdress how we look at censorship. If anything can be added to archive, around the systems that may be censoring it normally, then how can we censor anything? Should we be censoring in the first place? I would tend to lean towards saying no to the latter, but for the first question, the answer may be that we can’t. This is an archive we have little to no control over. If people put something out there, it will get out there, no matter how hard we try to prevent it. And I’m not sure if that’s terrifying or amazing. Probably both.