In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.” The City’s gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
Many of us that can afford an Internet connection still qualify as exceedingly rich compared to, for example, many poor people in Africa. On a scale of centuries, the ancient centers of civilization and wealth tend to collapse. Even Rome, with over a million inhabitants in its day of ancient prominence, shrank to only 20,000 over the course of history. Some other ancient cities no longer dot our maps.
It helps us, perhaps, to have some perspective. Those magnificent working monuments to wealth in New York, London, or Tokyo probably won’t be there 1000 years from now. What will?