“Life has always been a struggle to survive and flourish, as it is for every other species; but we are problem-solvers. We can fix most anything if we just get to work and put our minds to it.”
Here’s hoping that you and other 23rd-century people will read these letters, and know that many in the 20th and 21st came finally to understand that our relationship to the rest of nature is wrongly conceived, intrinsically destructive, and unsustainable.
People have done pretty well on this earth for most of the 100,000 years we’ve been here. Life has always been a struggle to survive and flourish, as it is for every other species; but we are problem-solvers. We can fix most anything if we just get to work and put our minds to it. By doing that we’ve accomplished a lot, and multiplied exponentially. But we’ve also made a big mess out of this planet over the past five centuries especially; and so far we’re hard put to fix that.
Long ago, “civilization” convinced us that humans were created to dominate nature, and that it was natural for some humans to dominate others. So our core problems are arrogance and greed. We idolize power and wealth and techniques for achieving them, rather than loving one another and seeking the common good. Cities exploit countrysides; nations exploit empires; the rich exploit the poor; men exploit women and children; humans exploit animals. Institutionalized cruelty prevails. We’ve convinced ourselves that merciless war is justifiable; destroying “resources” is necessary for “progress;” extreme inequality and suffering is the human condition.
Those among us who knew better, who honored and learned from nature, who saw themselves as participants in it and grateful beneficiaries of it rather than as “developers,” who focused on the well-being of their families and communities, have long since been conquered & despised.
How can we fix this? We can get to work & put our minds to it, of course. We do that part-time already. We change a few personal habits, introduce a few new ideas to public discourse, make a few modest adjustments to law. But if that’s all we do, you will be ashamed to be our descendants.
Our job right now is to show that it is possible to tackle our arrogance and greed directly, tear down our life-destroying institutions. We have to replace them with humane and sustainable institutions based on the prudent practice of love. That is going to be your job too, because it will take longer than two centuries. But it is our only hope, and yours.
Your loving ancestors.