A friend got me hooked on a website called Letters of Note. Here, you can find an interesting assortment of letters written by famous people. One of my favorite is a letter written by Ronald Reagan before his son Michael’s marriage.
Today, I’m thinking about the most recent letter published.
In a campaign by Volkswagen in 1988, author Kurt Vonnegut, among others, was asked to write a letter of advice to people living in the future year, 2088. I found this a fascinating project, and was struck by Vonnegut’s profound fear of overpopulating and eroding the earth.
I always think it’s a good idea to take care of the earth, but I’m pretty sure that given the same opportunity to write a letter to people in the future, it wouldn’t be on my radar to tell them to reduce and control the population.
What would you write in such a letter?
As for me? Well … I’d probably carry on for awhile about the world as it is now and as I experienced in my childhood, but then, as Vonnegut did, I’d boil it down to my most sage-filled nuggets. So here’s my advice to people a century from now.
To the people of 2114:
Wow! You are still here!!! Given the prospect when I wrote this, your existence is truly a marvelous and miraculous accomplishment. For all the amazing technological advancements of my day, things weren’t looking so great. The more advanced my culture became, the angrier, more hostile we grew.
But you are here and hopefully free and thriving and not needing any advice from a quite ordinary, non-descript human of a long time ago. However, should you be curious, here’s what I’d tell you if we could sit face-to-face.
1. It’s not all about you. My world threw away Judea-Christian ideals of giving back to society … we became very self focused, living for what best suited us individually, rather than what would make our immediate society strong and vibrant. We threw out moral absolutes and found ourselves in a quagmire of conflicting, confusing, messed up ideals that only worked if you harshly enforced them on others. Hope you are doing better than we did in this area.
2. You have a purpose. American culture in 2014 chanted YOLO (You only live once). In other words: you live, you die, that’s it … so get over it … get on with it … do anything you want … at any expense. I hope you’ve discovered how shallow this is. Treat your life as a gift with a purpose. Make something of your opportunity and help others to do the same.
3. If you made (created, said, did, caused) IT, you’re responsible for IT. Whatever your society is like now … whatever the laws and philosophies are, dig into the conscience you have been given … ..it’s your compass to right and wrong. Be responsible for every result of your own actions. Don’t make someone else clean up after (or pay for) your choices.
4. Live for eternity … not just the moment … not just the day.
5. Refuse the lie that you can do it by yourself. The best of the best who paved a rich and worthy way of life, knew the great secret … they needed a Savior, and they lived unashamedly in His shadow.
6. You are in a battle. There is a battle of right and wrong … evil versus good … it’s been with us through all the ages, don’t be fooled into thinking that you aren’t part of that same war now.
7. Laugh. Laugh often. Laugh loud. Laugh, knowing there is hope.
8. Look for the One true God. His name is Jesus. He can and will be found and … He will return.
So, what about you, dear reader? I’d really like to hear … what would you write?
PS If you’re liking the Letters of Note site, here’s another letter you might find priceless. It’s my other favorite.