2979 time capsule

This was posted in the rest notes mailout


'below are the questions Agnes Denes asked university students in 1977, for a time capsule to be opened in 2979. please answer any, some, all, or none of them.'

Do you believe humanity will become extinct one day?

I don't think we'll exist indefinitely

I guess I'm a materialist, we'll not be shorn of our bodies and be floating multiversal jellyfish like spirits. Would be nice though. Even if we hitch a ride on a high velocity star and send our progeny to galaxies far away we'll still be bound by the universe eventually.

If so, should this influence our attitude or change our thinking and actions?

Do we need to think more long term? Yes

Should we be fatalistic, 'we've got to die sometime' , no

What governs your actions?

Experience impact Values impact emotion impact thought impact action. Add some reciprocity

Do you think there is a force influencing what happens?

The actualizing tendency. And lots of little coping strategies getting in the way

What do you want out of life?


Why not more?

Tired, can't be arsed

Are you religious?

Atheist Buddhist

If so, do you think it could be habit or conditioning?

Letting go of conditioning can become a sort of conditioning if it becomes a habit

What do you care about most?


How do you feel about death?

Fine. As a therapist and Buddhist I've contemplated this a lot. Less fine about loved ones dying.

What would mean the greatest happiness to you?


Do you hate anything?


What do you think hate is?

I don't think it's the opposite of love anymore. There's often a pro social element to my hate. Maybe disconnection and rage.

What is love?


Which do you think will prove ultimately more important to humanity – science or love?

The marriage of love and science

If there are different kinds of love, what connects them?


What would you say the human purpose is?

To find purpose. As Becky chambers says though, this can be the realization that we don't need purpose (in her second monk and robot novel)

What would you rather be, if you had a choice?

I'd rather be than do.

If we are results of a development, in what direction is that development moving?

Towards growth and complexity

What do you consider humanity’s most important achievement?

We can live off planet eg. In the ISS

If human curiosity is the result of a mind half used, do you think the mysteries will be solved when the mind is filled?

This doesn't mean anything. Curiosity is boundless. We use all of our brains but minds can always contemplate more deeply

In what way do you feel that you are defeated?

I am limited by my body

In what way do you feel that you are triumphant?

I've never felt this. I have a sense of a narcissistic warrior reading that.

What do you consider to be the major differences between humanity and “lesser” animals?

I don't. I think one of the next challenges for equality is getting away from this sense of dominion, we are all equal inhabitants of this dying earth.

Do you think we are slaves to our customs?

I'm not. It just requires awareness.

How could we overcome this?

Therapy. Meditation. Connection. Community.

What would perfect existence consist of?

No. This is my problem with heaven, there's no objective perfect we can coexist in

What is ultimate reality?

I suppose physics and statistics. A lot of stuff is constructed by us. Even quantum is fucking weird and comes down to a statistical level of what reality might be. The subjective is equally important though. Reality can only be contemplated and changed through consciousness.

Do you think humanity should be more practical or more visionnary (ethical, magnanimous, creative, humanistic,etc.)?

Why is it a zero sum game? How do we become more if unrealistically. Need our feet on the ground and heads in the stars.