An Open Letter To The Year 4014

Scenario:  This is a open letter I wrote where, if you can let your imagination run a little bit, I buried it in an indestructible container of some type.  It would be found during an archaeological dig by someone (or a member of a completely different species) in the year 4014.  I’m going to make the assumption that even if English is not the dominant language of that time, they have the technology to translate it, read it, and understand what I had written.


January 2015

From:  Joseph Ratliff

To:  Someone in the future

Dear reader,

If you’re reading this, it means you’ve found a communication from the past, most likely many years ago.

I hope this communication finds the planet Earth much better off than where it is right now.  If not, if you live in troubled times, I’m very sorry.  I live in troubled times as well, and in fact, over the long term (hopefully thousands of years after I’ve written this) … we may have been part of the cause.

But I do have hope, something us humans have that differentiates us from other species on this planet.  We also adapt, in some cases intelligently, to problems in our environment and living conditions.

While my outlook remains cautiously positive, if you’re reading this, you probably would like to learn from some of the errors in our time on this planet.

I say “of our time” because I do feel that the human species (homo-sapiens) will probably have run their course and become extinct before this letter is found.

So, if there are some evolved form of human reading this, I hope you are a version of our species that won’t make the same mistakes.  But if not, I hope your species will not make the same mistakes ours did.

Let’s continue…

Over the years leading up to the year 2014, a small number of us made some very significant discoveries.

That same small number of our species also brought forward some advances in technology, medicine, and education that allowed us to explore our Universe and our planet to a small extent.

I say “small extent,” because our species had only existed for a snapshot of time of the billions of years Earth has existed (you might be calling it “space time,” and have even learned to move along it in some fashion by now).

So, back to the small number of important humans…

I cannot provide you an entire list, but if you start with researching these people, you will find their discoveries at least partially relevant (if only a small part) to your time now.

  • Johannes Gutenberg invented what we called the “printing press.”  It allowed something called a book to be created at a large scale.  This in turn, allowed
  • Nikola Tesla invented Alternating Current electricity, among other things.  One of our grave mistakes was allowing business, and an artificial form of value we created called “money” … to dominate, and therefor slow down the progress in this moment of our time on this planet.

We could have had free energy for every person on the planet, but because we created something called an economic system, and there was no profit from such an important invention to be made … other companies and people such as Thomas Edison scoffed at the idea.

It never happened.

Big mistake, not just the artificial systems we created that divided us into “classes” of humans (those with “more money” and those with “less money”) …

… but the opportunities we missed because we didn’t allow people like Nikola Tesla to fully express their gifts to the world.

Other humans of note:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci – a rather unique “polymath,” or person who was gifted in and curious about multiple high-level intellectual endeavors.  He had a unique ability to use both sides of his brain to an extraordinary degree (both from an artistic and creative side, and a logical, scientific side).  He was a landmark individual indeed.
  • Albert Einstein – he revealed what we called a Special Theory of Relativity.  Over the centuries, we were able to discover a number of what we called “scientific theories” and “laws.” Professor Einstein discovered a theory that pushed on the boundary of our intellectual capability in my opinion.
  • Charles Darwin – published the Theory of Evolution.  Mr. Darwin understood the multiple mental layers of how we came to be in this world.  A number of other people discovered ancient artifacts that have only confirmed this theory further.
  • Carl Sagan – Here we have the first one of us who understood our place in the Universe better than any other person.  If he would have lived longer (he died of a rare disease), I feel we would have understood that place in the Universe better right along with him.  If you can access our video recordings any longer, look for something called “The Pale Blue Dot.”  It says a lot about what we thought, in only a few short minutes.
  • And on, and on…

I am not including every single human being or all of our accomplishments on this list. There were of course many others, and if you research deeper I’m sure you’ll find their work as well.

But I wanted to provide at least a few examples of our species that I felt contributed at a level much higher than most others.

There are others, and I have done a grave injustice by not including them, but this is only one letter in a vast archive of information which I hope you will be able to discover.

On to the grave errors, misgivings, and selfishness of our species…

We had an incessant, almost pathological need to judge, kill, steal from, and divide our own kind.

Now don’t get me wrong, the majority of us  were good to each other most of the time.

But that said, we seemed to have a burning desire to compete against, be “better” than, discriminate against, and hold ourselves to false images of each other.

We made weapons, devices, even figured out how to manipulate viruses and bacteria to harm (and kill off) our own kind.

We did this to control territory and objects.

We did it because of language we expressed in some of our books (check religious texts written thousands of years before I wrote this as one example of this language).

And we did this in the name of some imaginary deities that we created for ourselves (because we could not ever explain the Universe, fully).

You, reading this hopefully thousands of years after I wrote it, realize how insanely silly this is.

But it was much graver than that…

Within our own species, we discriminated against our own genders. As one example, our females were objectified, brutalized, raped, tortured, even killed based on certain belief structures we adopted.

Just because they were female.  This was wrong, a horrible thing to do in the minds of most of our species.

Yet it continued.

Don’t mis-read me, all of those things happened to the males in our species as well, and were just as wrong.  But either it happened to a much lower degree, or I simply wasn’t aware of it.

And there lies another downfall of our species…

Our lack of awareness (and/or action) to what we were doing to ourselves and our surrounding environment.

For decades, centuries even, we debated whether or not WE were harming our climate with industrial inventions and energy processes that WE created, above and beyond the natural processes of our planet.

I’m sure you’re baffled as to how we could think that our additional energy inputs and outputs would not “add” to the energies that Nature already produced.  It baffled me too.

It would seem that common sense didn’t prevail here, we are the only species that created, debated, and documented our own destruction of our own planetary resources.

Yep, all three of those … we created the processes and energy, we debated whether or not they harmed our environment, and documented it all on the way to our environment’s demise.

I hope that by the time you’re reading this, we have stopped doing this or have been forced by environmental conditions (like storms, earthquakes, etc…) to stop doing it … and that the planet has at least started to recover from our “virus-like” behavior.

Don’t get me wrong though, a few of our species were intelligent enough to figure out this damage was taking place at our hand, and even more of us (including myself) were taking action to attempt to make things better.

The problem was, we started way too late.  The damage had already been done, some of us even predicted it would cause the extinction of our human species.

As of the time I’m writing this, in the year 2015, that hasn’t happened yet, but in fairness the predictions did not outline this extinction until around 2035 – 2075 depending on whose predictions you might encounter.

Part of the major cause of our environmental destruction was the formation of large “corporations” (which, if you can imagine it, we were stupid enough to treat as people). These businesses grew and grew and grew … then eventually commanded monetary resources large enough to form or hire their own lobbying staff.

They would use this lobbying arm to, in effect, “buy” our own Governing bodies of this time. This leverage allowed them to stay in business for way too long.  Those of us in an “activist” capacity tried to pool our own money into combating these large lobbying efforts.  As of this writing, they have failed.

I’m willing to bet you’re either laughing at us for needing an “activist” group of our species to maintain some common sense, and you’re right, we shouldn’t have needed this at all.

But the least human of us (the large corporations) had no common sense, although they acted like it.

That, or you’re wishing more of us would take up the “fight” that activist groups take up. Well, being that we were humans, we just didn’t do that.

Maybe we will evolve at some point (if we don’t go extinct first), or maybe we won’t.  I don’t know the answer to that question.  But I wish I did.

It would certainly have shined a brighter light on a letter like this.

In the end though, we were only human.  All riding on one speck of dust in a sunbeam.

Enjoy life, every second of it.

Joseph Ratliff


2 thoughts on “An Open Letter To The Year 4014

  1. I like the concept as a vehicle for telling the story. Since there are points within that story where our viewpoints differ significantly, had I written this letter there would have been significant differences, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Despite the devils in the details, our basic awareness of the big picture is the same. We both see the writing on the wall and the message written there is not a pleasant one.



    • I’ll admit I ended it a little early, and quickly.

      I have a more balanced viewpoint, and will be writing about the more positive aspects in future “letters.” Thanks for commenting Richard. 🙂


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