Tucked away in the El Castillo caves in Spain, first discovered in the 19th century, scientists recently re-tested the hand stencils painted in one of the caves. Much to their surprise they were far older than previously thought. They were so old in fact; at an estimated 40,800 years, Neanderthals may have created the stencils. Whoever created them and for whatever reason they proclaim, “We were here and if you find this we want you know it!”
Looking at the hand stencils one can’t help but marvel at the connections across time that these simple human intimate representations signal to us. The hand, our most unique physical way of making a mark becomes the mark they make to speak to us. Who doesn’t understand a signature as universal as that? The cave painter’s accomplishments in the caves don’t stop with hands but represent the world they lived in and what mattered to them. Like other archaic cave paintings discovered throughout the world these marks speak to us about their creator’s unique abilities and leave many of us with a deep appreciation of those who came from a time so long ago. We see their incredible skills at carefully rendering elements of a world whose difficulties we can’t really imagine. They took the time to create these and surely they knew others would find them.
We all in one-way or another want to make our mark. Whether personally, or within an organization or a team we want to leave a legacy that says, “I/We did this.” The ways to do this have vastly multiplied. Communication avenues have increased like never before. There has never been a better time to make your mark and have the ability to tell the world that you have done so. Each time we create a web site or post on Facebook we are making a declaration that says this is what matters and unlike the hidden cave paintings the potential audience is unlimited.
Each Flickr photo or Pinterest post makes a statement and reaches out to others and like the cave paintings visually proclaims, “I/We care about this and want you to know it!” It’s any ones guess how long these digital proclamations will last but there is no doubting the potential reach they have in the present. Like the cover photo we created in chalk for this blog post they may easily disappear but for that short time the audience is enormous. The cave paintings on the other hand have now lasted for tens of thousands of years and have the advantage of being presented to this much wider audience. Wow, we are impressed and are glad they are still there!
As we work with others throughout the world we are continually inspired by what our customers accomplish and what they create. We are honored to help them proclaim, “We did this and we want you to know it!”
The Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Werner Herzog
Thoughts on the implications of creative efforts and the customers we work with.