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 Do You Miss?

One constant in life is change. And when things change, invariably you lose some of the things that bring you comfort or happiness. What do you miss?

The types of things you miss can vary quite widely. It might be a material object, like a child missing a favorite teddy bear.

Others might miss a person, like a particularly meaningful teacher, or a family member that is far away, or deceased. You might even combine a physical object and a person, like a shirt reminding you of your father.

Maybe you fondly recall your favorite meal at a restaurant that has since closed. Or attending a concert of a band that has broken up.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘How can we maintain wonder?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘How do you think others see you?’


There are also more abstract things to miss. Maybe you wish you were carefree like you were as a child, before you gained adult responsibilities.

On the other hand, you might miss things simply because you have grown older. Do you remember when you were skinny, or had all your hair, or didn’t need glasses?

Adding to all of this, of course, are the restrictions that have been in place over the last couple of years due to the pandemic. Some of us haven’t been traveling, or spending time with friends or loved ones. Our lives have changed in many ways since we went into lockdown back in March of 2020.

So what is it for you: a object, a person, a memory of days gone by? What do you miss?

Related questions: Who do you miss? How have you changed? What was the best time in your life? What is the best part about getting older? The worst?

 

What Makes You Feel Old?

There are many things that might make one feel old: fading eyesight, say, or a bunch of nagging injuries adding up. Sometimes a picture of your childhood, or a comment from someone else will remind you of the passing of time. Is there something that makes you feel old?

Share why if you wish.

How Much Does Your Past Determine Your Future?

It is tempting to think that your future is laid out in front of you. Anything is possible, given the proper choice in the current moment.

However, that is not true. In reality, choices made in your past determine which choices are available to you in the present.

For example, the decision you made in third grade to play trumpet in band class means that today you won’t be auditioning for a drummer in a rock-n-roll band. Or, perhaps, your choice to major in English literature means you probably won’t be getting a job at NASA as an engineer.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What book has had the biggest impact on you?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How do you show thanks?’


Of course, there are exceptions to this. All the time, people end up in careers that have little or nothing to do with their college major. Throughout your life, you can choose to take up a new hobby. You might go back to school to learn something new.

However, it is true that at a young age, it is easier to learn new skills. Appropriately exposed, young children find it much easier to learn multiple languages than as an adult. If you learn to ski at a young age, your muscle memory is more ingrained than later in life.

Can you think of moments in your life where you choose a particular path that helped determine how things played out for you? Are there times in your past life that a different choice would have opened up — or closed — other options for the current you?

Similarly, there are some choices that you might make right now, in the present, that will determine what possibilities exist for future you. How might you make decisions now to best benefit your future self?

The actions you have taken throughout your life might have consequences for you now. How much does your past determine your future?

Related questions: What is time? How have you changed? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned? What do you wish you had learned as a child? Will the future be better than the present?