Ten Reasons We’ll Be Smiling in 5000 Years

Steve Roberts black ink drawing: leg and big smiling mouth will streamers of laughter emanating

Because making moronic, self-destructive choices is among the ways we learn to make healthier ones, we humans are evolving rather beautifully, I’d say.  Five thousand years from now we’re really going to be cooking.  Of course, given our present penchant for making the planet uninhabitable, a folk song at that time might say about spaceship Earth, “She ain’t a fit place / to reincarnate.”  No matter.  The universe is big.  We’ll show up somewhere.  And when we do, here are ten reasons we’ll be smiling because of all we will have learned over our many lifetimes from now to then:  

  1. Blaming anyone for anything will be considered such a silly notion that, should we ever do it, everyone around us will break out in laughter.
  2. Same goes for espousing that any nation or ethnic group or religion or whatnot is superior to another.  Or that righteous ends justify violent means.  We’ll laugh at such nonsense because, our souls scarred with the wounds of millennia, shared humanness will outweigh other considerations.  Well, most of the time, since, after all, this ain’t utopia; it’s just that our batting average of healthy choices will be a good deal higher than today’s.
  3. Society will prize an individual’s ability to challenge his or her own beliefs, and understand another’s point of view to the satisfaction of that person.
  4. In five thousand years, just about any kid you meet will be very knowledgable about the implications of everything they put in their mouth: air, water, every bit of food, drugs, words, music, laughter….
  5. Our more developed common sense will keep front of mind the reality we couldn’t even tie our sneakers if someone hadn’t taught us.  Seldom to be heard will be today’s frequent boast, “I created this.”  More usual will be, “Hey, here’s something I discovered.”
  6. Whatever passes for schools will be based upon a principle articulated by 19th century naturalist John Muir: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
  7. Behavior, our own and anyone else’s, will be seen for what it is: a mask, relatively meaningless except as a cue to deeper things.  Our focus will be on what’s under behavior––pain, fear, shame, unforgiveness, habits, addictions and the like––feeling them and freeing them.  It’s one of the reasons compassion will be so conspicuous.
  8. It will be hard to image that there was once a time when society’s care for its members’ physical and mental health depended in large measure on how much money an individual had.  The commonplace American idea of today that it’s okay for any of us to become financially devastated because of our health will seem as crazy as burning witches at the stake.
  9. Too, we’ll shake our head when reminded that, back in the darker days of the 21st century, you couldn’t have all the education you could ever want at no cost to you other than hard work and a commitment to give it away to others.
  10. And speaking of laughter, my story is that, 5000 years from now, it will be the single most common sound emanating from the mouth of the human family.  As we become really practiced at letting go of blame, shame, pain, fear, unforgiveness, masks and so forth, what remains are sounds of love, playfulness, awe, gratitude, joy––i.e., laughter, in its many forms.

What makes me think this is where we’re headed?  Look around.  Check the mirror.  A not invisible number of humans already live this way.  I know a few; you may too.  And a lot more of us are in training.  Some dozens of incarnations down the road, why, there’s no telling how well we’ll grasp the significance of that eternal question: What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?

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"I honor that we are killing the earth for the same reason I consider being an alcoholic a privilege: it is a doorway to the profound self-understanding required to make truly healthy choices."

The Essay: Honoring the Killing of the Earth