A New Year’s Meditation

If you could go back in time a thousand years, you’d find people who were shockingly similar to those you presently love. The same is true for people who will live a thousand years from now. Some of them will be nearly identical to the people you now love, and you would care as deeply for them as you do for their present-day counterparts.

Please understand this: The men, women and children we would love in the future can advance only in the same way we have: by the benefaction of their predecessors.

Can you imagine how long it took for ignorant men to learn the rules of metallurgy? Or crop rotation? Or a hundred other things we can barely imagine being without? Our lives are advanced only because they created new ways of living and passed them down to us. Hundreds of generations lived through dark times, fighting toward whatever bits of light they could find, opposed by others nearly the entire way, to bring us where we are now.

Someday our generation will also be gone, and we will have played – whether or not we’ve understood it – the crucial role of transmitting civilization to following generations. What do we want them to be like? How do we want them to live?

Numberless men and women struggled into the future and spent all they had to bring us here. We owe them something. It may be that they no longer care, but their gifts to us will cease to exist unless we pass them along. Only we can make them matter, and they deserve to matter.

We stand now at the threshold of the stars, but we’ve been held back by structures designed to control us and reap from us. We must step around them and continue forward.

Foolishness and fear bid us to forget the future: to chase status instead of goodness, consumption rather than production, and comfort rather than expansion. A thousand self-serving voices call us aside, grasping at our emotions. We must turn away from it all.

We owe this to the people of the past.

We owe it to the people of the future.

We owe it to ourselves.

What happens next is up to you. It’s not up to leaders; it’s up to you.

The consequences of your failures are inescapable and the consequences of your successes are inescapable: Whether or not you acknowledge them, our descendants will live or die by them.

What you are and what you do matter a very great deal.

Engage your will. Act. Awake.


Paul Rosenberg