Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

We all want to change the world, but when you talk about destruction. Don’t you know that you can count me out!

Well first up I think it is quite clear that I have accepted Shan(Chop)’s challenge to try and make all post titles song lyrics.  I have added the little previso that I must have listened to the song that day, so they may become somewhat random…or I may become distracted and eventually forget about the idea.  So stay tuned, I’m sure it will be fun…for me at least:P

So today I set aside to go and visit the British Museum. The place that has been talked up as one of the best museums in the world in my discussions with people who should definitely know.  Hell there is even a TV show about it, okay it is on the ABC, but still – TV has never sent me wrong.

It came as no surprise then that I thoroughly enjoyed my day.  I got there pretty much when it opened and left an hour before closing…with only my sore feet/legs from walking all day stopping me from staying that extra hour.  All the ‘big name’ attractions were great to see up close like the Rosetta Stone and Parthenon sculptures, but I also found that most of the smaller items equally, if not more, intriguing.  I had decided to get the Audio tour which was good value as it saved me reading a lot of the little white squares, and made sure that I didn’t miss anything major.  However, as I said I loved some of the less popular exhibits and found myself quite often distracted from the main items that were surronded by throngs of people by something high up on the top shelf that I am sure 99% of people would walk straight pass.  To some it up in a slightly vulgar, but fitting, way it was like having an intellectual intercourse all day😉 haha

Now I could stop here and this post would probably constitute a rather ordinary, yet brilliantly written *nudge nudge* travel blog entry.  However, I found myself a little conflicted throughout my journey into the depths of the British Museum.  I was loving seeing the exhibits, but I was also questioning if they should be there in the first place.  Of course, this thought first properly materialised when I was looking around the Parthenon room, as it has been a hotbed of debate in recent years, but I found this question mark applying to most of the other exhibits.  Should the Mummies not be in Eygpt?  Should numerous tombs have been opened up and robbed?  How is ownership of ancient artifacts defined? Should it be that the school yard principle of “finders keepers loser weepers” apply or should the objects heritage be respected and it be given/left to those people/that country where it originated?

I found myself with significantly more questions than answers as I walked around, maybe that’s what the Museum was supposed to do, but as a good future lawyer I knew I had to look at both sides.  On one hand you have the idea that we need to learn from the past, to be able to excel in the future and to do that artifacts must be preserved and studied and this can’t be guaranteed if all items were left in their original states or left in the control of those who lack the required skills.  I can see the weight of this point, but on the other hand what gives us the right to impose our wishes for knowledge/preservation on these items?  Also, if knowledge is the main reason what is the need for the excess that is clear to those who walk around the British Musuem.  For every item on display there must be numerous others similar to it in storage..if not in the same case.  Why not just take the Noah’s approach of taking just enough, and have only the bare minimum needed to learn from? You didn’t see an Ark filled with 1000s of sheep, 1000s of Giraffes, 1000s of monkeys…Noah only took the bare minimum he needed, “two of every animal”.  Why can’t we?

In the end, I came to no real conclusions on the ethics of this museum that I so enjoyed visting.  It is possible that I wouldn’t let myself make such a conclusion as it would then lead to the realisation of needing to judge myself for having enjoyed the experience so much.  However, I did have one thought crystalise and I know it is one that I can stand by…experiencing the British Museum may just have taught me just as much about myself as it did the places/people of the past.  Now how geeky is THAT?!

January 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. clearly being sucked in by your insightful writing style, i wonder how i have never had such a fortune to read simey’s words before. i always knew you were a massive geek and a pool of infinite knowledge and wisdom, but just how much is kind of scary! you’re such a unique gem in a world where people play so easily among the petty and shallow pools of existence, so focussed on the small and unnecessary missing all of the wonder of life. who cares if there is no infinite answer… surely you should know right and wrong are somewhat blurry lines! i shall stop being tempted to saga you in return. xx

    Comment by lisbeth | January 12, 2009 | Reply

  2. I have totally been mentioned twice in this blog so far, are you missing a certain chops simy??? :p

    Comment by shanchops | January 13, 2009 | Reply

  3. hehe…yeah I’m totally missing Steve😛 haha

    Comment by casaboy69 | January 13, 2009 | Reply

  4. Simon, as it was you who pointed out that we share a brain, it’s definitely not steve. Trust me, i dont miss him at all :p

    Comment by shanchops | January 14, 2009 | Reply


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