What Would You Say To People In The Future?

If you had a chance to convey a message to future generations, what would you say? What would you hope to communicate?

Speaking to the past is easy. For instance, here at Intellectual Roundtable, we previously asked the question: What advice would you give your past self?

Such a question is relatively common in our society, and it is easy to see why. Even though to your past self, the future is a mystery, your present self knows what happens. You have the advantage of knowing how it all turns out.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What are you waiting for?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘Are science and religion compatible?’


However, to your present self, the future is unknown, perhaps even unknowable. So what do you say to the unknown?

You might even have some idea of what to tell yourself a decade on (or more). But what about someone a hundred, five hundred, or a thousand years from now? What information would you try to convey? How is it different from sending a message in the present moment, to the other side of the world?

Of course, we have a version of talking through time already. After all, isn’t that what writers do? What is, say, the novel Frankenstein, if it is not Mary Shelley taking to us from the 1800s? Was Homer speaking to people more than a thousand years later when he wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey?

So the technology exists to send a message forward in time. How would you use it? What would you say to people in the future?

Related questions: Past, present, or future? How do you plan for the future? What is time? What do we owe the future? Will the future be better than the present?

What Would You Do If You Had More Time?

Let’s try a thought experiment. Pretend that there is an eighth day in the week, or an extra hour in the day. What would you do with more time?

Many people feel they are too busy, that their days are too full. Between work, family, social obligations, and so on, there isn’t much extra time for hobbies or exploring other interests.

This starts at an early age, as school work can take up a lot of our childhood years. For many, there is a relentless pressure to get good grades, in order to get into a good college. This sets you up for graduate school, law school medical school, or the like.

It doesn’t get any better once you get into the working world, as a young employee will often be expected to work long hours in order to get established (and pay off school debt).

Add in a spouse and some kids, and every hour of the day can easily be taken up with one chore or another.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘Are we too busy?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’


But what if it wasn’t that way? What if you had some time every day to an interest of some sort? What if there was an extra day to spend on an extra project? How would you spend that time?

Maybe you would write a novel. You might get your friends together to film an amateur movie. Perhaps you would host a regular party for friends, or learn to paint. Who knows? You might watch more TV.

What would you do if you had more time?

Related questions: Are we too busy? If you had an assistant, what would you have them do? What are your favorite hobbies? What is time?

What Would You Do With A Million Dollars?

If something unforeseen happened and you suddenly received an unexpected million dollars, what would you do with it?

Several states are offering money, through a random drawing, for people who have received the COVID vaccine. Ohio, for example, has already given away a prize of a million dollars.

Now, a million dollars is not the amount of money it used to be. Still, for the majority of Americans, a million dollars would be a life-changing amount of money. Plus, the fact that it is not a ridiculous amount of money might make it more challenging to think of various possibilities.


Related: Listen to the Intellectual Roundtable podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the question, ‘How much is enough?’ The discussion comes after a bonus question, ‘How much of our thoughts are our own?’


What would you do with that kind of money?

Perhaps you would spend it. One way is to pay off your mortgage, or even buy another house. You could eliminate any student debt. You might go on a lavish vacation. Or buy a fancy car.

You might decide to save the money (or at least some of it). You could invest in the stock market, start a business, or go back to school.

Alternately, you might donate some or all of it. You could help struggling friends or family members. There are any number of worthy causes that could be assisted.

Do you think you would leave your job? You could switch to another, more fulfilling job if you had some financial cushion. You might even take an early retirement, depending how close you are to retirement age.

Ultimately, knowing what you would do with a sudden windfall may just influence how to spend the money that you do have.  What would you do with a million dollars?

Related questions: What is the purpose of money? Time or money? How do you plan for the future?

How Do You Want This To Change You?

There are many questions that arise due to the pandemic and our efforts to deal with it. One question that I have not seen much of yet: How do you want this to change you?

The Opportunity

While the reasons for it are regrettable (for some heartbreaking), we live in a time of remarkable opportunity. Our normal, daily routine has been completely upended. Moreover, we don’t know when things will change, or what the end state of our world will be.

This means we have a chance to have a larger impact on our own future lives, and the future condition of our entire society right now.

Think back to before self-isolation started, before schools were closed and people started wearing masks. The thought of making changes, on an individual or collective level, was daunting to say the least. Could you imagine not driving everywhere all the time? Could you imagine working from home?

But now we see what kind of change is possible, if we want it enough and agree to make it happen. For instance, massive, structural changes to address climate change is possible. Evictions can be stopped. Paid sick leave, universal health care, and working from home can be done.

Making Change

But in order for those things, or others, to happen, we have to want them and be willing to change our behaviors in order to make them happen. We have to convince our elected leaders we want these things. And if we are told they aren’t possible, we know that’s simply not true, because we have seen them happen when the need is great enough.

All this change has to start at the individual level. How do you want your life to change? Before life goes back to pre-pandemic behavior, spend some time thinking about what it is that is truly important to you. What have you learned about yourself, your community, and larger society?

Related questions: Are there unexpected benefits to what we are going through? How have you changed? How have we changed? Can people change?