As a part of Margaret Atwood’s course on creative writing. One of the final tasks in the course is the write a letter to someone in to future, real or imagined. So here it is. A letter to my as yet, unborn great great grandchild who will be living in a world we cannot yet conceive of, in the year 2150.
Dear Child X
You don’t exist here on earth in the present moment of the 17th of February 2019. I am not sure if you ever will exist on this earthly plane either. Who knows what the future will bring or if the planet will still be harbouring Homo sapiens 100 years from now.
A bit about me.
The world in which I grew up was very analogue and linear. As a child, I played video games but mostly I played outside from dawn to dusk. I didn’t own a computer until I was in my late teens and I was a bit of a technophobe before. Life in the 80’s and 90’s was a lot more predictable and had well-defined customs, traditions, symbols and ideas for me to digest as a child and teenager. We had iconography and narratives delivered to use through different mediums like MTV.
In 2019, the world compared to then has now become unpredictable, fragmented, ever-changing and volatile. The old models, false idols and symbols that people held so dear in older times have now dissappeared.
Exactly what these idols will be replaced with is unclear. But all signs point to technology as being the supplanting idol and ubiquitous symbol that your lot will be worshiping.
No doubt you are reading this with a twee sense of rememberance about how things were done in the past. I too am looking upwards (literally from six feet under) towards you in 2150. I’m trying to predict with laser-sight vision, the reality of the world as you see it.
Perhaps you are now commuting to work on a floating hoverboard like in the 80’s film Back to the Future?
Perhaps you can get an upgrade on your original body, whenever you feel like it. So that you look nothing like your original genetic self.
Perhaps you are part android and part human,? Or maybe part alien and part human?
Perhaps you have long ago shucked off the confines of this planet like a frustrated intergalactic turtle (big amphibious creature that once resided on earth). Perhaps you are viewing this from the refined and temperature controlled platform of a space ship. Where they pipe out pan-flute music like an aural anaesthetic. It was made by a long-ago forgotten Peruvian native tribe.
I wonder if you feel and think about the same things as me? Such ground-breaking and mundane thoughts as ‘I’m hungry’, ‘I’m tired’ or I’m confused and disatisfied with my existence’.
Perhaps I should elaborate on these strange murmurings for your benefit, as you are most likely part-machine, and therefore only partly able to understand and comprehend what it means to be fully human. You will be able to understand the semantics of course, and the logical reasoning, but understanding illogical emotions – well perhaps that might be a stretch for you. It’s often even a strain for the person feeling them at the time.
Humans by nature feel a deep-seated yearning for bigger and better things and experiences. For crossing the next big river or mountain to see what’s on the other side. That spirit of curiosity, daring and adventure can be imprinted on some people’s DNA.
On the other hand, plenty of people are happy simply to exist, to ruminate on life from the one location. To reproduce, lay down roots and build a life for themselves that’s built upon permanence.
For most of us, the shortness and unpredictability of life (at least from the perspective of our lives in 2019) means that all so-called solid foundational structures in people’s lives such as jobs, careers, money, health and spouses are anything but stable and predictable. They are simply there to be cherished in the moment, because the present moment is all we ever have.
The world we currently live on in 2019 is an embarrasment of riches, a vibrant bounty of resources and natural treasures that is never fully understood, only ensnared and enslaved for the purposes of exploitation, plunder and strained use.
Those of us who would rather enjoy the world in quiet contemplation don’t really hold any bargaining power about what happens to our planet. Only the simple and humble bargaining power of our own meagre consumer spending and our habits of being helpful rather than harmful to the world in what we do. That’s just an FYI by the way, in case you were wondering. We didn’t all want it to be that way you know – fucked up (That last phrase is a very flexible and lyrical term that can be used in many situations)
This all probably sounds a bit quaint to you. Perhaps you look down upon us as being rather folksy, backwards and a bit deranged.
And who could blame you. As humans, we have a tendency to look back upon previous generations with a mix of embarrassment, confusion and disgust.
Either that or, for you, the past is seen in the light of wonderous nostalgia for a time and place that has long ago dissapeared. The halcyon days of humanity. I can understand both perspectives.
I suppose that will depend upon what kind of reality you currently live in. Is it completely overwhelmed by virtual marketing and digital anarchy. Perhaps planet earth has now returned to its feiry, archaic origins due to an apocalyptic event and you’re reading this from the safe, clinical confines of a space ship.
Alternately, perhaps earth has been resuscitated and returned to the primal principles of environmental worship, elemental balance and preservation from ancient times. That would be interesting.
In any case, you will have my blood running through your veins and we are kin. Although separated from you by 100 years, we probably would be able to have a decent conversation.
My advice to you is to go easy on yourself, be kind to yourself first and good things will follow from that. If you give to yourself and nourish yourself, then you are an over-flowing cup from which abundance pours forth to others. It’s more important to be kind in this world every day, rather than aim to be successful at any cost. Also- being successful doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your principles and ethics and what you know is right.
Anyway, that’s all for now I hope you have a good, happy and long life in the future. As they would say in a dorky but great TV show from this era – live long and prosper.