Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
A diary written on castle floorboards (bbc.co.uk)
199 points by pmoriarty on June 3, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments



Very interesting, thanks for sharing this. Out of curiosity I dug a little bit and found a much more comprehensive writeup on this amazing piece of history: https://www.cairn.info/revue-histoire-economie-et-societe-20...


Great link.

"Happy mortal. When you read me, I will not be any more, "writes Joachim Martin on one of the found plates, clearly showing his will to leave a trace of his existence, but also of his thoughts. "My story is short and sincere and frank, because no one will see my writing is a consolation for forced to be read"

Under the floors of the castle of Picomtal. The posthumous writings of a carpenter from the Hautes-Alpes (1880-1881) by Jacques-Olivier Boudon

Google Translate: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&u=https:/...


Awesome link. Thanks.


That's quite a fantastic story. To me it especially underlines how biased historical records and our views of the past are. These entries may be only 138 years old, but I think the metric that matters is how many lifespans they are removed from our current reality. There is so much that goes unrecorded, and once people die the tape is effectively erased... I often think about the fact that World War II ended 83 years ago, and that the very last people that remember what it really meant are about to die. And once we lose that kind of memory, there's little to prevent us from going fullcicle and doing everything again...


"World War II ended 83 years ago, and that the very last people that remember what it really meant are about to die. And once we lose that kind of memory, there's little to prevent us from going fullcicle and doing everything again..."

It's worse than that. As ever more powerful weaponry gets concentrated in to ever fewer hands, without a corresponding increase in wisdom to forestall their use, there are likely to be very dire consequences for a humanity that seems prone to something like autoimmune reactions on societal levels (ie. humanity seen as an organism attacking itself).

I would be surprised if civilization as we know it lasted another couple of hundred years.

As Einstein once said, "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."


> autoimmune reactions on societal levels (ie. humanity seen as an organism attacking itself)

Tiger salamanders, when facing overpopulation in crowded communities, will have a few larva spontaneously develop larger frames, bigger jaws and hyperaggressive, cannibalistic demeanors. The "cannibal morphs" will attempt to devour those in the community most distantly related first, which clears some room and confers a selective advantage on its closest kin.

https://academic.oup.com/beheco/article/5/2/225/212146

Probably risky to read too much into that. We aren't tiger salamanders, after all, and they don't, far as I can tell, debate and refine their own ethics in any meaningful way.

Still, it's terrifying to consider that tribalism and even genocide might have an evolutionary tailwind.

I'm not an evolutionary fatalist... but it would suggest we have a lot of work to do.


That is fascinating, and reminds me of the plot of Marvel's Infinity War film.


S. Hawking also commented something to the effect that he'd be surprised if humans lasted another hundred years, let alone a thousand.

Also : the notion of "the tape getting erased" mentioned above reminds me strongly of William Burroughs' idea that ideas, memories, and other cultural / personal info-artifacts are dependent on [paraphrasing here] their being written to memetic tapes. which are liable to erasure, editing, degradation etc etc as social and psychological processes work.


>ended 83 years ago,

It ended in 1945 that's 73 not 83


> once we lose that kind of memory, there's little to prevent us from going fullcicle and doing everything again...

We have a few things they didn't have back in the 1800s: easy access to paper and other means of recording. We have, for example, Patton writing a letter to his wife regretting his role in WWII. We have the red cross's thorough paperwork on their examination of the German work camps.

1st person accounts of events will endure. It won't prevent things from going full circle, though.


But so many of those memories have been written down, shared in documentaries over the last 50 years, that we will always be able to see humans talking about them.

More to the point, many years ago I visited one of those camps, and you can still feel the evil.

Anyway, to my point: this was nearly the first thing that showed up when I googled https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ges-Od4tR0I


Am I the only one that remembers being told in school “there will never be another holocaust. The allies all agree to snuff out the next Hitler before s/he gets any momentum?”

And also, of course, that what makes America great is it’s welcoming attitude to immigrants.”


Allies were British, French, Soviet and the United States right. This leaves the task in the hand of the British or the French :)


While it's true that the "big 3" controlled strategy, there were quite a few more than that:

At the start of the war on 1 September 1939, the Allies consisted of France, Poland and the United Kingdom, as well as their dependent states, such as British India. Within days they were joined by the independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.[1] After the start of the German invasion of North Europe until the Balkan Campaign, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, and Yugoslavia joined the Allies. After first having cooperated with Germany in invading Poland whilst remaining neutral in the Allied-Axis conflict, the Soviet Union perforce joined the Allies in June 1941 after being invaded by Germany. The United States provided war materiel and money all along, and officially joined in December 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. China had already been in a prolonged war with Japan since the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, but officially joined the Allies in 1941.[1]

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allies_of_World_War_II


Yes, and worse yet, people today believe they are wholly incapable of the things that happened in the Holocaust. I have regular conversations with people (especially people who consider themselves progressive) who adamantly say they are flat-out incapable of that kind of violence. If you want a good measure for when another Holocaust is possible, I think that's the best measuring stick: When regular people think they're not capable of those things.


I call bullshit on this. Literally they are the generation who fostered war in Europe. Look at Brexit its the younger people defending peaceful and gradual unification, the older people want Britain to be "great again". We've learnt in a deep way post WWII not to repeat that. Look at the history of war in general and its happening way less often especially between countries, most is civil wars now. The loss of historic memory of old ill-will is more likely to enable further peace than hinder it.


Some food for thought regarding old people leaning conservative:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/05/poor-people-oft...


The whole article is based on the premise that poor people don't live to old age. What a load of nonsense.


The phrasing used in the article is “the fact that mortality among the poor increases during middle age”.

Are you saying this isn't a fact?


Literally they are the generation who fostered war in Europe.

People who remember what life was like 83 years ago are in their 90s now. That means they'd have been children when the war was happening. They didn't foster war. Their parents and grandparents did, and even then only under great duress. The majority of ordinary people didn't want another war.


What proof do you have that young people didn't vote for Brexit?


I wouldn't say it's a nessesity to unify into a new political structure for there to be peace.


73 years, but still.


Could several people please abstain from downvoting factual corrections?


For the sake if the original owners I hope he wasn't paid per hour.




Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: