Dear humans of the year 2100,
By the time you read this I will be long dead, probably forty or fifty years already. The things about which I write are obvious to you. To you it is obvious that we, your progenitors, failed. We failed to make the changes necessary to allow our species to live sustainably on this planet. We failed to use the technology at our disposal to live cleanly on Earth. We failed to use farming and waste disposal methods that did not poison the land and water and air. In our quest for lives of comfort we used our planet, and psychologically our children, as a sewer. Our children—your parents and grandparents—became the repository for all our unmet needs, denied hopes, buried traumas, rage, and perversity. We left you to face the ultimate consequences of our denial, cowardice, and passivity. We left you to face the catastrophes of climate change and overpopulation of which we had more than a mere inkling yet spoke about in largely theoretical and thus easily ignorable terms. We were of the last generations to live in a semblance of relative peace and we knew it. I can only say, in my defense, that I never had children—so at least none of you are my direct descendants. This is not coincidental. Your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, by the very nature of their decision to breed, cemented their denial in place with a rose-colored fantasy that removed their ability to think critically. That is why I and not they write you this letter.
My future humans, I don’t know when the real catastrophes on this planet became obvious to everyone, but I suspect it was around the middle of the 21st century. That, I presume, is when we ran out of cheap, dirty sources of energy and cheap, unsustainable sources of food. That was when there was hardly any more meat for anyone to eat and hardly any more easily obtainable clean water. That was when the major famines hit places on the planet that had never before experienced famine. That was when people started figuring out that technology wasn’t going to save us. That was when people started to wake up. But by then it was too late. We were already well beyond the tipping point. The deep poisoning had already occurred. That was when the major wars broke out. That was when all the large, wild animal species of the planet were gone, along with all the marine mammals and most of the fish in the sea. That was when all our major forests were gone. And although all the precursors to this had already been going on for well over a century or two, that is when it became obvious that the Sixth Great World Extinction was no longer just an apocalyptic scientific fantasy. And that was when it became obvious that no beings from outer space would rescue us, that we had no real ability to escape our planet in search of hospitable others, and that we lacked anything resembling the technology to properly detoxify out earthly home. We were stuck here, and we were stuck.
But what could we, we of the early 21st century, have done? To you this answer is surely obvious. Please allow me to run my hypotheses by you, so you with the clarity of hindsight can check my work. Primarily, we should have figured out how to put a moratorium on procreating and used that time to create a viable long-term plan for nonintrusive reduction of our own species’ population to sustainable levels. We should have treated ourselves as the ecological vermin that we actually are—vermin who all have a right, once created, to live, but not a right to breed unchecked. But this is just a start. We should also have stopped using all nuclear energy immediately. We obviously lacked the responsibility to handle anything of that caliber of toxicity. We should have stopped using fossil fuels and learned to create healthy, sustainable electricity in other ways. Yes, we were selfish, short-sighted, and stupid. Intelligent sacrifice was not our strength. Clearly we were not ready to handle our neurological template of high intelligence.
But there’s more, no? We should have stopped harvesting other animals’ meat, be it domesticated or wild, for our food, if only because it’s ludicrously unproductive and rotten for the environment. We should have harvested our food wisely and sustainably. We should have discontinued all violence and war immediately—as well as all production of weapons, including weapons for hunting and self-defense. Anything less than a complete moratorium on weaponry would not have been good enough for us. We also should have cleaned the oceans to the best of our abilities—immediately. All that plastic waste, drifting about in giant oceanic islands? We knew it was breaking down. We knew it was getting filtered up through the lowest levels of the ecosystem and would eventually kill the oceanic biosphere. Were our plastic bags and plastic bottles really that important to us?
We also should have redone our economic system. It was all set up by rich people to keep themselves rich, that is, comfortable—at the expense of other people and the planet. Our attitude of never-ending economic expanse was a set-up for the ugliest of crashes. Yet we all basically went along with it. We were traumatized children—the rich among us hoarding the metaphorical love they never got, and the poor among us desperately striving for its scraps. That unresolved trauma, the neglect we inherited from our traumatized parents, was our undoing.
We also should have all broken from the cults in which we were entrenched. We needed to break from our farcical religions—all of them—and break from our families too. Our parents screwed us up. It was primarily they, with the extreme power only parents have, who inculcated us through parental selfishness to pursue happiness before sustainability, authenticity, and respect for all beings. They had us to please themselves and their fantasies. The development of our self-actualization and altruism was not their primary agenda. They were the primary cult upon which all others were based, but we were too caught up in the traumas they foisted on us to see it. We instead believed the lies of “family first,” “honor thy mother and father,” “be fruitful and multiply,” “forgiveness,” and “they did the best they could.” Their attitudes were cancerous, and ours became their metastases.
But there were other cults we should have stopped, though we didn’t even recognize them as cults. We should have broken the cults of ethnicity, national origin, and gender and realized that we, with our high intelligence and capacity for love, had the potential to be a united Guide species on our beloved planet. But instead we picked teams, picked sides, and needed others on other sides onto whom we could project the shadows of our psyche. We believed in governments, we believed in male versus female, we believed in racial superiority and inferiority, we prayed to gods to save us, and we thought our families were special. It was all a lie. And it caught up with us.
But how could we have made these changes? That I do not know. The blindness of our trauma blocked our vision and our motivation. Our addiction to denial was too strong. You know this now, because you have had to do your best both to grieve your missed opportunities and to clean up the horrible remnants of the mess we left you. We too needed to grieve, but instead we just had more children.
And so we failed. We failed to prepare this planet for your existence. We left you the job of attempting to right our wrongs. Some will not be righted for tens of thousands or even millions of years. Some will never be righted at all. Most of the species we destroyed will never return. Many were never even formally discovered. Oh, my future humans, I am sorry. I gave it my all—yet still wish to give more. That is why I write this letter. My heart grieves for us and for you. I am sorry you have to go through such hell and torment on our account. I am doing what I can now, but I fear that it is not enough. Too many of my fellows are just in too deep. They will wake up at nothing short of personal catastrophe. Oh, I hate what they do—even though they are but wounded children more in need of love than anything. Oh, future humanity, I wish I had a better answer.
Your non-biological ancestor,
Daniel – I read this post and immediately it captured my thoughts exactly on the situation at hand for the future. I like to believe I’m an optimist but the reality of where we are heading is too hard to ignore. I live in the NYC area as a professional in the corporate world for a biotechnology company. While I don’t love working for corporate America, it allows me to earn a living and I try to do as much as I can to leave a small footprint on the Earth with regards to carbon emissions, avoiding consuming lots of meat, avoiding plastic, recycling, etc. I find that many of the well-educated, so-called “intelligent” people I know and work with simply do not think this way at all and deny climate change as well as the dangers of population growth and the impact on resources. There seems to be little to no sense of urgency or recognition of the enormous dangers around climate change, pollution, over-population, the environment, etc. This is what makes me extremely concerned that wide-spread change doesn’t seem likely. It seems like there is a very small minority of people on the planet that “get it” and understand the drastic need to curb population, avoid climate change and live sustainably but the over-whelming majority are clueless.
“Climate change” is going to have a wonderful effect on the planet, as rising CO2 levels will spur untold plant life growth. As it stands, wilderness areas on the planet are and have been expanding. Aquafarming, a form of “sustainable” farming, is taking off. Organic, “sustainable” farming, has captured a massive market share in only a decade. Attempts at achieving stable fusion energy “ignition” are coming closer and closer to success (the cleanest energy that will ever exist). Engineers have created safe, stable bacteria that effectively breakdown the material left in landfills and human waste depositories.
Wind and solar energy are disastrous to the environment and have to be subsidized in the billions of dollars by governments.
While there is no racial “superiority” or “inferiority”, there are discernible biological difference between the races. To pretend otherwise is to deny reality.
Nuclear power is MUCH more safe than coal power, by orders of magnitude. Much closer to the “healthy, sustainable” energy the author desires. Yet, not good enough.
Furthermore, if humans truly are vermin, it would be a great way of living your values by taking prophylactics for distribution to the 7 and 8 child families in the Third World you encounter only by leaving a massive carbon footprint through your yearly flights around the world in fossil fuel burning planes.
This “letter” is not in accordance with reality. It is a reflection of the inner world of a person who has adopted the same worldview and jet-setting behavior as Leonardo diCaprio.
As a man who is opposed to “vermin”, one may wonder if as his own shadow side there exists a person who has lived as a dependent on government subsidies at any point since he closed his therapy practice in rent-controlled Manhattan.
hi gabriel—well, i don’t agree with most of what you say, though i can’t deny the harm in my sporadic international flights (carbon footprint). i admit, i wish i had lived in a rent-controlled apartment in nyc—-i paid market rate. after closing my practice i’ve lived on savings and sales of my dvds, not government subsidies, though i did indirectly make some money off the government by accepting medicare payments, however piddly, as a therapist—-though i paid taxes in return, so the government did pretty well off me, all things considered. daniel
This was great. I’ve read a few of these – and as I was reading yours, it struck me that this might be a great exercise to get people to think into the future and therefore have a more clear vision of what needs to be done? Kind of like those exercises where you write a letter to someone you need to confront. In 2011 I realized, as a Biologist I should be making more changes in my personal life but I found it overwhelming – so I decided to focus on one single change for a month at a time; I found this is a far more permanent solution to changing habits and in one year I accomplished more “eco-friendly changes” than I had my entire life.
Truth has to rise from within each of us, anybody deciding on universal moratoriums would be just reenacting his own childhood traumas and repression on others. If the time will ever come, we won’t need any moratoriums, and that will be the only right time. I can hate unaware human beings and what they’re doing, but I wouldn’t judge them or subdue them if it killed me, it has been done to me for too many years to still think it’s right.
interesting point. but what about a universal moratorium on child marriage or female genital mutilation? is putting a moratorium on those things also reenacting one’s own childhood trauma and repression on others? i am curious to hear your reply.
Hmm, very good point, after much chewing on I can only admit that I don’t think any external imposition will ever be the solution to child abuse, let alone an enlightened one, because whenever I feel the need to force my decision on other parents I can’t hide from myself that I’m just acting out different levels of transfer (the illusion to save my inner child by desperately saving other children, the reenactment of my parents’ dictatorship on me, the desperate attempt to impose on other parents the respect for me I would have loved to impose on my parents) all of which bring me farther and farther from my true feelings and personal pain. It doesn’t feel right, I don’t think it’s an enlightened way to go about our social or personal problems. It reminds me a bit of the reason why you stopped practicing, you could have saved heaps of children by helping their parents become aware, but it just didn’t feel right anymore. Does it make sense? Or do you think I’m just in some kind of denial and that there’s a way of imposing something on others in an enlightened way?
Sure, the moratoriums could be the best we as a society can come up with at this point in our evolution, but that doesn’t make them necessarily enlightened or respectful solutions, and should we choose to act them out we should be aware of what we’re actually doing.
sounds like good points you’re making. food for thought.
Why focus only on the human animal? Nowhere in this letter do I see an apology to the unnecessary mass killings of sentient animals.
there’s a good amount of focus on animals, not just humans. see paragraphs 2 and 4. and the focus of the letter is not an apology to anyone or anything of times past, but an apology to those of the future.
all the best,
Interesting note here as to human awareness of animal abuse. The first child ever taken out of an abusive home had to be removed under the authority of the Animal Cruelty Laws, because while there were laws protecting animals from abuse there were none protecting children at the time….pretty outrageous…right? Here is the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/15/health/15abus.html?_r=0
Are you kidding me?? I had no idea! Thanks for posting, Connie!
Someone who feels the same. Wow. These realizations are often very lonely ones and I know only a very spare few people who possess this understanding and awareness.
I consider it part of my life’s work to spread this message about families, parenting, children and trauma but it often feels incredibly futile.
I will do what I can until I have saved enough to set myself up sustainably very far out in the middle of nowhere. I have a background in forestry and survival and could happily live in a small cabin. Writing things, reading classics and enjoying what’s left of the beauty of this world while it lasts.
Thankyou for what you do. It matters to me 🙂
very cool Adelle — thanks for visiting and posting — and good to connect! -daniel
Of course, you must know, there are many of us who could have written this, many who are! There are wise beings slowly developing these thoughts with actual solutions. Small and overlooked by those who believe they hold power, there are solutions to all the main points you raise. My analysis is far more simplistic. It is not that we are breeding, thus making too much of us, for 500 years ago, at least 45 million people lived peaceful harmonic lives in what we now call North America. (See “Lies My Teacher Told Me” James Loewen).
What I have come to learn is very simply the truth of slave/master neurosis. It seems to boil down to who believes they hold power over another being and what each being does in response.
To me, your grave error is in not understanding what I have come to find as a treasure of unlimited truth. Don’t laugh it off or ignore what I have to share, I beg you, open your heart. I am what the world belittles and is known as today a “Haredi Jew of the Chabad Orthodox sect”. We are breeding as many as we can because every single “other” human would like to kill us, and has done so throughout human history. In fact, we are loosing more than we are breeding.
We are loosing 95% of all the Jews bred to the same horror that we are loosing all humans, the horror you so vividly describe. The outer parody play of slave/master.
What you could not possibly ever understand, without having a hint of what I have been learning deeply over the last 19 years, is that what the world belittles and despises, the Jew, the very reason it is so despised is because we have held truths and answers that are repugnant to the powerful. And for the most part they are totally misunderstood!
It would be impossible to live without knowing that there is indeed living amongst us a vision and a way beyond the material surface take you describe. That so few actually feel the terror and awaken to live their life in full alliance with the implications does not mean others must stay in their slumber.
Bruce responded with a video by what I began to see as at best a motivational speaker. Bruce, I am not sure what the deep truth your speaker leads you to. But for me, being Jewish, I cannot go in that way.
I go in the way of the masters before me, who lived a life of sacrifice to death and martyrdom before loosing their connection to G-d.
You could write me off as a religious fanatic, the very cult that you describe as being responsible for the ills you write of. Or you could give me the benefit of the doubt and realize that it is beyond natural that any Jew is alive!
I have been writing for 15 years what I call “The Moses Message”. Your message is an upgrade of the “Noah Message”, a man who also saw a world in decline for exactly the same things you see.
And in case you just go back to, hunh, those bible thumpers, just using those words to oppress, well, realize that unless one reads the so called bible in Hebrew, and strives to truly know what those words written thousands of years ago are actually transmitting, unless one strives to grasp a hint of what these incredibly wise men and women were desperately communicating, you really cannot just write us off as a destructive cult.
Those whose religion is based on the threads of what is called Christianity are tasting a hint. But everyone can see how on the stage of world history, Christianity is responsible for more massive enslavement and death than perhaps anything hoisted upon another human being, other than natural disasters, which seemingly kill more people than any wars perpetuated by human thought.
I can’t speak so coherently about the Islamic writings, but I do know that for most of the years since Mohammad forced his world view upon those less fortunate (convert or die usually leads one to either converting or dying!) the Moslem allowed the Jew to live as a Jew, usually because those in power relied upon a very intelligent Jew to hold that power. Which may be true to this day, as to why any Jew is tolerated in any business setting anywhere.
Anti semitism is just as strong as if Hitler were alive today, for every other human who is forced or willingly aligned as a member of a country (really most people have absolutely no choice as to what so called nation they belong to, it is just a whim of those in power who declare this way or that which boundaries belong in their power, often just arbitrary and spiteful! – like we see occurring say in the Ukraine, but in so many places, sadly)
Often political boundaries are declared purposefully to cause conflict upon those forced to endure those boundaries, so those in power can watch in glee how the petty prides will waste their time fighting over small things so they can just grab the big things easier.
This despicable world history just marches on, with people having to endure with as much dignity as they can muster.
Meanwhile, the self destruction marches on! That I am reluctantly the owner of this despicable devise (iPad – made with slave labor in China using the US militarily created Internet, which thanks to Eric Snowden, hey don’t kid yourself, everyone using it is being watched and all of us therefore are at risk for loosing everything we hold dear), that I bought one makes me complicit.
But my inner turmoil is to use this device to create at least a small victory for a new human being. My job is to help mothers breastfeed. That such a job even has to exist pretty much tells me that we are truly doomed! Because if mothers have become so desensitized to believe that a human baby can thrive separated from her is just simply the biggest lie ever foisted upon humanity!
In fact, I would venture to guess that most true illness spews forth from that separation! We do not have the physical ability to care for ourselves for at least two years. And those two year olds who are forced to fend for themselves are swept up by vultures a bit older than them, who abuse them, because it takes years of brain development and growth before any wisdom dawns upon us, any wisdom that can find strength of heart to not desire to abuse those less fortunate.
By the time we mature and open our eyes to the horror, we have perpetuated it. Those fortunate enough to find theses truths when in teenage years, can get off the cycle of wasted time in the cult of their parents folly. The educational system was designed to enslave. I do not have my youngest child in this system. My oldest three children had to endure my slow and painful growth through my searches for the truths you have found. I created a Waldorf School for them, a school system which at the time, I felt was able to provide a core education. They are quite remarkable, but trapped like all of us in the prison of our political system.
But I am not an advocate that we must create a new system. We have seen the isms of the past just become new platforms of torture.
If you want to taste a hint of what some some Torah masters have given us, try reading Rabbi Nachman’s stories. Every Passover, Breslovers (those that consider Rabbi Nachman their primary teacher) read one of his stories “The Master of Prayer”. Originally told January 6,1810, it starts like this: Once there was a master of prayer. He was constantly engaged in prayer, and in singing songs and praises to G-d. He lived away from civilization. However, he would visit inhabited places on a regular basis. When he came, he would spend time with the people, usually those of low status, such as the poor. He would have heart to heart discussions with them, speaking about the goal.
What is the goal? Perhaps you have read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning?” Though I have not studied Psychiatry and the world of Therapy, I believe the therapy you promote, open discussion, is a direct outgrowth of Viktor Frankl’s teachings. His book is one I read every few years, lest I forget his message. And the most remarkable aspect of his message is that he developed it when he was three years old! And he befriended Freud at age 16, who published Frankl’s manuscript at that time in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. And perhaps most remarkable is that Hitler tried with all his mighty power to kill Frankl, without likely even knowing who he was directly, though he had worked in Austria with thousands of psychotics curing most every one! Hitler just wanted him dead because he was a Jew. That he survived 4 concentration camps is a testament to his theories of life!
I could continue to ramble, not even knowing who will have taken the time to bother to read this far.
I just hope you can open your mind to realize it is not in stopping to procreate that we will find salvation. It is in procreating wisely, teaching those of all ages to grow up and take responsibility!
Viktor Frankl was find of saying the west cost should erect a Statue of Responsibility to balance the Statue of Liberty on the East coast.
For that is ultimately what your outcry is seeking to do. Wake up fellow humans! Take responsibility for your actions, because every one of them has a tremendous impact on another human being, beyond our wildest imaginations!
i thank you for posting — and having the courage to post, especially in a place like this!!! that said, i get scared, i admit, when any group wants to have a lot of children because they believe their way is the correct way. to me it becomes a tribal mentality, and to me we are all one, not divided at all — connected. i just can’t justify having children at all, let alone a lot — and can only at this point justify raising the still partially wounded child within me.
p.s. i found value in viktor frankl. his book was amazing to me when i read it some years back. i actually think i read it a few times.
Precisamente el punto clave de la confusión acerca de lo que es bueno y guía,de lo que no lo es:Victor Frankl ,pudiendo salir del país antes de que lo atraparan los nazis,y salvar a su esposa e hijo por nacer,prefirió acompañar a sus octogenarios padres,para cumplir con el mandato de la gerontocracia:que quien debe morir es el niño.Para qué se hizo cargo de una familia,si llegado el momento les dió la espalda?Léalo por Ud. misma en el libro que menciona.Hacia la mitad del mismo libro-probablemente el más famoso de sus libros-comenta que trató a una mujer que en su infancia fué abusada por su padre,VIOLADA.Lejos de ayudarla a dimensionar y comprender el horror que había pasado,consideró que el problema era pensar en ello,y de paso le echó la culpa a Freud,que con sus escritos le había hecho recordar su infierno personal…Nada más lejos que entender y profundizar “el sentido” del sufrimiento de sus pacientes.Léalo por Ud,misma en el mismo libro.Lo leyó varias veces y no reparó en estos contenidos espeluznantes?,contrarios al cuidado de los derechos más básicos del niño-y de los pacientes?Un triste consuelo:no es ud. la única que parece estar ciega a lo que Víctor en primera persona y orgullosamente ha contado.Quiere saber más?:este hombre-siniestro para mí-estaba encantado en practicar la lobotomía a sus pacientes,incluyendo una anestesia prohibida aún para los perros,ya que provocaba la muerte…si sigue interesada,tengo más datos.Pero aún más triste e increíble,es que este m ismo hombre es visto como uno de los ejemplos más grandes de humanismo en todo el planeta.Ha sido declarado Dr. honoris causa en más de 20 universidades,sus libros,están entre los más influyentes en el pensamiento popular.Lo que aplaude la sociedad del mundo no es la protección de los más inocentes,sino el cumplimiento de los condicionamientos ciegos,de obediencia,inmolación de los niños,vista gorda al abuso,etc,etc.Y nadie lo ve. Danny Mackler,a leerlo de nuevo!!La característica central de la perversión,es sustituír .lo bueno,por lo malo disfrazado de bondad…y este libro-y este personaje-son la carta oficial de la cultura,que así lo hace,y lo grita a los cuatro vientos…mientras el resto repite y aplaude ciegamente…
Yikes Daniel!….while I agree with much (if not all) of what you are trying to convey here, I must say it was very depressing and sad for me to read. I will have descendants living in the year 2100 and it breaks my heart to think the beautiful earth as we know it will not be part of their experience. I have said in recent days I believe a “revolution” of sorts is on the horizon for American society, and have estimated that revolution to be mid 21st century. As to what form the revolution will take…could be political, economical, social, environmental….I’m not really sure, but I like to hold on to these wise words someone once said…
“…to the point that if I think thousands or millions or hundreds of millions of people were all struggling together to try to resolve their own childhood traumas I think a massive momentum would build and it will happen much more quickly.”
yes……hmm… ahh!! well……i hope the wake-up does happen……and sooner rather than later. i guess what gets to me is how far gone things already are. but…..yes……i like that quote…….and i believe it!! 🙂
That quote is from your video “What a Child Really Needs”….it stood out to me, because I thought, Wow…to have mass awakenings, how great would that be? Quite frankly, sometimes I feel so damaged…that I could use all the momentum I can get!
yes, that sounds right. i surely would love a mass awakening. and……i do believe it will happen, probably in some unexpected ways. i wonder how, exactly??
This is very powerful and moving stuff David. Thank-you for writing it. I am reflecting deeply on these concerns at the moment but still caught in ‘the system’ and trying to figure out my next steps. I hope the words you and others are expressing around this serve as not only prophecy but also a wake-up call to avert the disasters you speak of. It seems as if there is no middle-ground here; the system is structured for complicity and one has to step right out to avoid being so. Its grave. I have begun to read your posts and watch your films and find them inspiring, disturbing and moving. I’d like to write to you privately about a few things.
thanks Petra. i have no idea the effect of my writing about all this will be — but what i figure is that if i don’t write it i am not trying to do something about expressing these things that i usually hold in. for some reason lately i’ve been wanting to express more…and more….. wishing you the best, petra — and i’ll reach out backchannel. daniel
Looking over the edge into the abyss, huh? Not that I disagree at all. I just worry that the abyss will look back into you….we are our focus, you know?
“Whose There ?”