It’s difficult for me to imagine what the world will look like in 100 or 150 years. As my children get older and the prospect of grandchildren looms ever closer, I often wonder how future generations will look back on us. What will be our crimes, and what will be considered blessings? What lessons will they learn?
I would like to think that war would be among the crimes and be put forever in our past, but it is doubtful. I’m sure in 100, 200, even 500 years, the penchant of man to shed blood will not have waned. They will look at our wars, as every generation has before them, with contempt while justifying their own nuanced aggressions and tyrannies.
I do think that the treatment of women will be scrutinized, in particular in those areas where they are mutilated, beaten without consequences and even murdered lacking thought or remorse. I don’t believe our own culture’s objectification of women will be overlooked without comment or condemnation.
In spite of a good percentage of our population turning a blind eye to climate change, I am certain that my grandchildren will experience the escalating effects of man’s impact on the environment and will be more than just a little resentful. I can’t imagine what the scope of those changes will be, but they will be regrettable and profound.
I hope they will see that in so many respects we got it wrong, that they will find that the ultimate goal in life is not to acquire things, not to consume as much as possible, but to live simply within the natural rhythms of the Earth and her resources.
I do not believe our progeny will enjoy the same freedoms that we have. Already in my lifetime I have seen civil liberties disappear in an Orwellian current of big government and corporate ownership of the political parties. It seems unlikely that that tide will change. Fear is a powerful master and dangerous mistress.
I like to believe disease will not hold the tight grip it has on us and past generations. We are on the cusp of eliminating polio, and advances in medical research are being realized on an arithmetic curve. I am confident they will know the origins and causes of cancer and it will be cured.
I have no doubt that education will change dramatically. They will understand the absurdity and utter failure of our current methods. They will refine education to very well-defined and narrow specializations and connect learning and instruction to the latest developments in brain research. The days of general education and the generalist will be gone.
I cannot remember a life before cell phones. I wonder if my grandparents thought the same of the telephone and my parents the television. I can’t help speculating what those things will be for my children and theirs. It is amusing to imagine what technology will find its place and ubiquitous cultural saturation as to become almost engrained in their genetics.
I hope that they will find a renewed appreciation for the arts and return them to their rightful place as central to a life well lived. I imagine a world where artists — true artists — are revered as much or more so as the professional athlete.
I do believe they will go through a revolution or two. These may not be revolutions in the more traditional sense but rather revolutions of thought, revolution of economy, religion and politics. These are the possibilities that most intrigue me and keep my mind spinning looking forward into time.
In the end, I hope my life will have something to say, that my children will carry some lesson, some wisdom forward into time. And I hope they will forgive me, forgive us, for the utter failures so essential to their progress.