Yesterday as I wandered through the British Museum, marveling at the scale of the creations from civilizations past, I was struck by a couple of things.
One, while art is considered aesthetic rather than functional, it is still "functional" millenia later; by contrast, modern technology is considered functional rather than aesthetic but rarely functions even a decade later.
These Assyrian statues once stood at the gate of the city, designed to awe and impress, a function they still serve today.
Two, it made me wonder what future ruins we would offer future generations, future civilizations. And perhaps I'm biased because I just happened to be in Las Vegas last weekend, but I had to wonder if Vegas didn't contain the ruins that were equivalent to the reconstructed temples and palaces we find and replicate today. Garish, beautiful, grand scale, and outlandish proportions seem to better describe the casinos and hotels in Vegas than our modern churches or government buildings.
It doesn't take too much of a stretch to imagine future generations nodding sagely over explanations of the "money palaces" constructed by our civilization. "They worshipped money and constructed these elaborate temples where they would sacrifice money in the hopes of receiving blessing, 'getting lucky' they called it. The point of these palaces was to awe and impress people with the power of wealth and induce them to take chances to gain it."