All Saints 2012

Some cemeteries in Barcelona offer tombstones with qrcodes so that visitors can learn more about the deceased just following the link in their smartphones.

Sometimes when wandering along niches in a cemetery, I read the names, dates, and I wonder about the lives of the people who are buried there, unknown names. When it is the case of a young boy or girl, or a child, I can not help thinking that they had to leave “too early”, perhaps because of a disease or an accident. All the others, what sort of life did they have? What did they do, what kind of events happened to them? No life is insignificant or worthless. Every one of them could have been the subject of a biography that no one wrote.

Just for an instant, I imagine that, suddenly, these rows of niches become the shelves of a library, with volumes of biographies, and perhaps personal diaries, and photo albums. Wandering among the aisles and shelves, I could open up a volume at random.


In a brief biography there could be something like:

  • 1947: Finds a job as librarian at the Faculty of Physics
  • 1955: Marries Joaquim Jove
  • 1956: Has a son who will be christened Angel.

In a diary or memoirs, perhaps there could be something like “I was twelve, and our class had been visiting the zoo. I was going back with a friend, walking along the harbor, when a woman that was selling tickets at the “Golondrinas” booth (boats in Barcelona’s harbor), called us and offered us free tickets for a ride because it was her birthday. I would always remember her kindness to us.”

There is no such a thing as an insignificant life. For every person we watch, we can imagine his past or his future (Post about four ages). In every instant, so many things happen that no biography nor memoir could fetch all this wealth. Not even the most compulsive diarist could record everything. For example, the joy that we feel when commuting to work, just because the wet heat of the summer is over and the first fresh autumn breeze arrives.

And even if they could exist, these infinite memoir volumes, no one could ever get to read even the most small fraction of them. There would be too many and too little time. Not even each of us about ourselves! We cannot keep track of everything that happens. It is sane let things go, as if we travelled with a small backpack, with room for the daily needs and just some light souvenirs, instead of a huge warehouse where all can be stored forever.

Anyway, I like the idea that no one is insignificant and uninteresting, and that these biographies could have been written and I could browse them.