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?

How Do You Plan For The Future?

With a world that is full of uncertainties, dealing with the present can be difficult, let alone planning for the future. And yet, as the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

Our present moment is one of unusual circumstances. Everyday life has been changed, nearly beyond recognition. On top of that, things are changing very quickly. In addition to that, we don’t know how long until we can return to some semblance of normal life.

With that in mind, how do you prepare for a future that may not come? Do you try to plan for multiple eventualities? Alternately, you could do nothing, and simply let the future unfold. After all, the future is ultimately unknowable.

It can be difficult to prepare for the future under ordinary circumstances. But in the midst of unprecedented events, what do you do? How do you plan for the future?

Related questions: What do we owe the future? What can you control? How do you set priorities? What is unknowable?

Are There Unexpected Benefits To What We Are Going Through?

Reading the news can be depressing. People around the world are sick and dying. Supply chains are being interrupted, leading to economic instability. No one, not even the experts, know what will happen next week, let alone a month from now.

And yet, there are bright spots if you look hard enough. Seeing them may require a change of perspective. There might be some data that you hadn’t heard before. Maybe some positive behaviors have risen unexpectedly. Or maybe you just need to hear some good news when you are overwhelmed with the bad.

So, what are the news stories or anecdotes that bring you hope? What are the positives of the current situation? Is there anything that helps you wade through the negative news? Are there unexpected benefits to what we are going through? What may be the long-term positive changes?

Related questions: When is doubt helpful? What are you optimistic about? How can we turn sadness into constructive action? What makes a community?

 

COVID-19?

The unprecedented events unfolding over the last week or two have come at a furious pace. The actions taken surrounding the COVID-19 virus are unlike anything seen in over a century.

As a result, there are many questions we could ask here at Intellectual Roundtable. However, we would rather hear from you, our readers.

What are the questions that you and your family are asking? What do you find yourself wondering about? Is there something you want to ask your employer, your town official, your government representative?

What are your questions about the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic?

Related questions: How do we know what we don’t know? Is it a cruel world? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? How can we turn sadness into constructive action? Freedom or security?

What Is Uncomfortable But Rewarding?

There are a number of things in life that we might find uncomfortable. Discomfort can be found all around us, in both our personal and professional lives.

These can range from something relatively innocuous (say, an itchy sweater) to something more serious (like an inappropriate joke at work). For the most part, we experience discomfort for a reason. Typically, it is an indication that something is wrong.

Sometimes, however, a feeling of discomfort can be prelude to an improvement of some sort. Most people like things that are stable, and events or people that upset that stability, even in the process of making an improvement, can be disruptive. Change is uncomfortable.

Over the last decade or so, disruption has even become a buzzword in the business (and tech) world. AirBNB has disrupted the hotel industry. Uber and Lyft have disrupted the taxi industry. Used in this way, the word “disruption” suggests a change introduced that may cause chaos to an established industry or service, but ultimately leads to a better product for the consumer.

What are some other examples of something that starts out being awkward or difficult, but ultimately lead to positive change or growth? What is uncomfortable but rewarding? How can we tell “positive” discomfort from the “negative”?

Related questions: When is a lie justified? When is it useful to fail? Why do we put up with unhappiness? When is doubt helpful?