A Letter to my Future Children
A great man once said, “The best way to predict the future, is to create it,” and of course Abraham Lincoln meant this in terms of what you’re doing at present, when he spoke these words. Bearing in mind the implications that this has on a global scale, it is for this reason that with a heavy heart, I’ve written the following pages for my children to come, and the generations to proceed them.
The year is now 2017, and the Earth as well know it, faces many environmental, as well as socio-economic tribulations, that, although foreseen, have been waited upon until the eleventh hour, more or less, to act on; I suppose this is one of the inherent flaws in human nature, in our ability, or lack thereof, to learn from and make predictions based off of our past.
For instance, I point to the issue of climate change, which is arguably the greatest challenge that we face as of late. I hope for our sakes, as well as yours, that politicians and other aforesaid appointed leaders have put aside their differences, and their concerns pertaining to pecuniary emulation in order to put a halt to this grave threat; that you are not in fact reading this note from somewhere deeply inland, striving to get by, or even in some remote place in space, as a direct consequence of flooding, and other less than ideal situations that the scientific community have precautioned us against; we did not heed the warning.
At the time that I write this, is one in which the bee has become an endangered species following a chain of events related to matters of this similitude, despite how Darwin, Materlink, and many others like them cautioned us against the serious ramifications of this event for the last one-hundred years or so; we did not listen. Just look at, The Origins of the Species,” “The Life of a Bee,” or other such literary works to further substantiate this point.
On a similar note, I would like to offer a brief lesson from those great classical texts of literature, with the goal that it may guide you in the right direction, and thus I turn the leaflets of history to those pages from Beowulf. If that great cultural work or any other epoch of history as illustrated in a history class have taught us anything, is that blood-feuds are pointless and trivial means with no foreseeable ends in sight; nothing more than a tragic destiny doomed to repeat itself, rooted in egoic pursuits of a false notion of a civilization’s glory – but so are the aspirations of a nation driven by ethnocentricity.
Nevertheless, throughout era, century, and every other period of time, we have ostensibly failed in grasping this vital lesson – what with each page of the history books being stained red with the bloodshed of the peoples of Troy, the Roman Empire, the indigenous individuals whose land we took, both World Wars in addition to the creation of the Atomic Bomb, as well as the Cold War. That’s not to mention the atrocities of genocide, and other horrific events which have plagued us – all for the namesake of global dominance, and under the endeavor of greater technologies, and more resources. When will we be able to look beyond these imagined borders we’ve created, and understand that our true power is in unity; that we are all brothers and sisters, one people, sharing the only home that we have in this universe, and that the greatest resource that we could ever have time, and good health?
So, I pray, heed the words of another brilliant man who remarked, “I know not what weapons WWIII will be fought with, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones” – that you will learn from our mistakes, and master this course. Violence and war begets those actions of the same likeness, and peaceful relations cannot be found in preparing for such measures.
In regard to the matter of the sciences and our technological advancements, I say, never forget the fact that the human mind is by far the most phenomenal computer or tool that there could ever be. While smart phones and other types of machines have revolutionized the way that we learn, and the ways that we live, one cannot over look the fact that they were created by a conceptualization within the mind, and that they are nothing without the operations of such; nothing more than cheap plastic with fanciful bits of hardware.
While I have no crystal ball, nor can I fathom what the future of technology may be like-how many jobs will be lost to said advancements, whether the creation of AI will be everything that we’ve wished for, surpassing all preconceived notions that no invention could usurp the computer, that space will in fact be the next and final frontier, or if developments in medicine will lead to an overall increase in life longevity. However, in accordance with my overarching message, I beseech you to go forward with vigilance.
Even though these achievements have made us a more connected people, they have ironically, and paradoxically enough, made us more separated from one another; as if the person on the other side of a screen could ever replace the authentic contact with the individual sitting besides you, lost in their very own handheld monitor.
Moreover, in an age of information, we so too have run the risk of being both over informed, as well as being a misinformed people. The idea of obtaining more knowledge, of greater amounts of information, under the guise of how knowledge is power has obscured the lines between any sense of true wisdom. It is for this reason that our technologies have to a certain extent, become added extensions to ourselves, and are rightfully called applications. In our codependency of these devices, we have to varying degree’s dumbed ourselves down, in so much as we rely more on Youtube videos, and google searches to learn, as opposed to engaging the white matter within our human psyche, and leveraging that great power which is humankind’s capacity of reason, as well as the critical thinking processes.
Thankfully, the future is not engraved in stone, and the best gauge of the future to come is those actions at present. I learned from my ancestors the grave consequences of our actions on future generations as seen in the tremendous debt that they have left for mine. In this present course, I implore that we as a whole set out to follow suit in ways set into motion by those four countries in which healthcare is universally provided, and that higher education is free for its people. That we can follow their lead in transitioning to a more environmental concerned society, in that we transition towards being more electrically powered, reduce carbon emissions, and think up new innovative ways to build the future to come, for you.
One cannot put a price tag, or otherwise monetize the well-being of this sacred thing in which we call life. We are a long way off from reaching that ideation attributed to Plato, which is eudaimonia, or human flourishing, or happiness, but I hope that on a collective level, we can endeavor to strive towards it; a place that is in stark juxtaposition to that in which I am wary of, where we’ve thwarted environmental concerns, hostile relations, and every other obstacle for that matter that prevents us from obtaining this state.
Hopefully, the latter is the scenario for you, and it is simply my understanding of human nature that moves me to be cautious, and somewhat skeptical. After all, to err is to be human, and even if you make all of the right calculations, or make all of the right decisions, there is still the risk of failure, and so is life. It is for this reason that we’ve often resorted to depicting the future as some dystopian society, as opposed to that of a utopian one, in terms of forecasting what it may be like, despite our tenacity to hope for the best when the idea of future events, at least for ourselves. At the very least, I want you to know that taking that risk was of no concern of mine, and that I did everything in my power to ensure that that second reality was the place for you to live, so that your future may be bright.
Whenever I contemplate what the future may bring, I usually resort to bear in mind that theory of chaos, and namely the butterfly effect. I know it seems odd, I’m sure, but I’ve always figured if something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can have such a monumental impact on events to come, then how can it not be remotely possible that the same holds true for myself?
After all, I am a far greater entity than that which was previously mentioned, so surely my causes and effects with them send greater ripples through varying nonlinear systems, or throughout any preconceived notion of a space-time continuum for that matter, than that of the first, just as the even more significant lunar mass causes the tidal waves of the ocean as a result of it’s being.
As far as my photographic memory, and otherwise selective if I may be completely honest, I’ve always been the introverted type; afraid of the idea public speaking. However, for the first time in my life, I find myself appreciative for this part of myself.
It is July 15th, 2016, and my shaky hands scroll the mousepad downwards as I navigate the screen of my small iMac before me. I’’m reviewing my courses that I’m enrolled in from the study room at the university that I’m attending. I hover with hesitation over the section informing me about the details pertaining to the public speaking course I’m signed up for, which begins in fifteen minutes. Then it happens; paralysis by analysis.
In that moment, I begin to think of every public presentation I’ve ever had to give since grade school; both the successes and the failures of them alike. As I do so, the feeling of being in front of a classroom overcomes me, and for a fleeting instant, there is doubt. I begin to consider my options, and even begin to wonder if I should drop the course-I already have all the classes I need to graduate without it, not to mention the fact that I would still be a full-time student without it. That is, I begin looking for every excuse out of doing it, and it’s wearing heavy on me.
But then, miraculously, there is a quiver of clarity. I remind myself of how I in the long run, how I really do need the three-hour lecture; I want to be a professor and to do other such things with my life that will require this of me. For now, going through with this is the first step towards that future, and that it is time to overcome this silly fear of mine. The sensation of empowerment building, I meditate on the reality of how the first decision is one based from a place offer, and that the latter is one of love, and that last thought leads me to my verdict.
In a flash, I sign out of the little portal from behind the terminus in front of me, and with a slight snap, I place the laptop into my bag in order to make my way to that first 10:00 a.m. discussion. There is even a small smile; at times like these, I’m thankful for this little reverse butterfly effect like characteristic of mine, as I like to call it, in regard to ruminating over what my actions at present will have on the course of future events.
It is now March of the following year, and I’m sitting in the administration office, awaiting the counselor to notify me on matters pertaining to the judgment of my petition to graduate. There really isn’t any doubt in my mind however, when considering how I know that I’ve met all the prerequisites for a degree in English, and have thirty units more than necessary. Despite this, I’m still in for a surprise.
Approximately one hour later, I leave with an ineffable sense of happiness. Not only have I been accepted to graduate with a degree in English, but in Interdisciplinary Studies as well; one that I was not even intending on, or anticipating by any means. Of course, the extra classed I took played an important role in this, but the final course that allowed me to meet said requirement was that of the public speaking class.
That night, I reminisced on everything that led up to my accomplishment, which in turn sends me one step closer to my other goals. The long two-year haul of sacrifices, studying, hard work, and problem-solving utilized to defeat every obstacle before me so that I could get to this one of many means to an end which has lingered in the back of my mind since I’ve started, and I am finally here. Tears of joy roll out from the corners of my eyes; every second was worth it.
Fast forward not to April of the same year. I’m at a Thai Restaurant getting ready to enjoy a delicious serving of yellow curry. There is a ravishing burner in front of me, whose blue eyes compliments our matching outfits. Her smile takes me away, and words can not express how happy I am that we share similar wants, goals, interests, nor the fact that it is so easy to be myself around her. Also, knowing that she likes me is pretty great as well.
Still, a writer never rests from their work, and somewhere off in my unconscious mind, I’m musing over the story in which I am writing to you now. I’ve really liked this angle of the butterfly effect in reverse, more or less, but I can’t figure out the best way to approach it. Then it happens. She flashes another captivating smile, and almost at random remarks, “Did I ever tell you how happy I am that we met in that public speaking class. Somewhere during that time is when I realized that I liked you.” After this remark, I surprise myself, and I let out a laugh, but I don’t think it was misinterpreted. Serendipity is a beautiful thing. I’m thankful that she’s a physics major, and that it somehow works in synchronicity with my love for writing science-fiction. I even half-wonder to myself if she can read my mind. Above all else, I’m grateful for all the relationships that didn’t work, and that I made the choice to show up that day, to which extent these words would not have been breathed into existence, and an entirely different story would have replaced them. If I had acted otherwise, I would have in turn robbed myself of these experiences.
Aaron M. Weis