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Fear, the future and the world 'today'

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've been reading through a load of letters written by my dad to various people (He kept copies of letters and died in 2000)

I found an amazing letter which just highlights the fact that other generations had as much to worry about as we do now...its a letter to his parents from 1966, just after he'd met my mum and chucked in his job as a journalist. My grandparents were really concerned that he was living an unsettled and directionless life..

In short (Its a 14 page letter) he said....


"The majority of people seem far more concerned with making more money to provide more amenities with which to 'enjoy' the present than with anything else. In doing this, they seem prepared to shut away any tendancy in themselves to think about the mysteries, and to laugh at anyone who wants to think about them. This is sad, sick and fatal.

I believe implicitly in my duty to live according to my principles. These principles are not just traditional attitudes that I pay lip-service to, but deep felt, thought out, honest PRINCIPLES. I also believe that I must live honestly in accordance with my own, individual nature, no matter how hard it may sometimes be to do so.
I am not 'blessed with an urge to aquire. I do not wish to do evil to anybody. I feel an urgent desire to get humanity into a more tollerant state.

A criticism I have raised hundreds of times against my ideas is: "very well, you want to live a life which is honest. Once you start having children, you will cease from spending time on your own hobbies and vanities, and spend every ounce of your energy in equipping them to live a good life, without them growing up with a fear of telling you if they think you are wrong; but that won't improve the general lot of man." and the answer I have reached is 'No, but if everybody did the same, I feel sure mankind would improve'.."

About the threat of war he said..

"A year ago I looked at the tensions in the world and thought 'Well, if the worst comes to the worst, and they start another big war, I'll just die, as I have got to do anyway' ...Now, however I want to live. I must explain that the threat is very serious to me.
If one started, a big one, my concern would not be to fight for the things I believe, but to survive, so that the things I believe in would survive me. If a bloke came up to me in the street, drew a knife and said that he intended to kill me because he thought I believed wrong things, or did not believe as he did, then I would fight like merry hell.

But the next war, unless something is done about the matter soon, will be perpetrated by vast, impersonal machines, guided by faceless men onto the homes of people they cannot even see.

If, for some reason, valid or otherwise, LBJ decided to pump a few missiles at Russia or China, the target nation would promptly send similar, but more, machines back to America. Seeing this, the Americans would set off the computers which programme the majority of their missiles to send a reply volley. Realising this was happening, the target countries would retaliate in like vein, and with the quantity and quality of atomic missiles at present existing in the world, it would soon develop into a race to see who could knock the other about how much before being themselves ruined.

At best, the larger part of the world's surface would be unpleasant to live on before they stopped. At the worst, there would be very few people indeed to see what sort of a mess it was in anyway. - My ambition is to be one of them.

I don't believe for a minute that my beliefs are worth dying for. They are far more important to me than that. I believe they are worth living for, surviving for.

I believe that the best thing I can give is the example of a wise, good and honest life. To do this I must follow, in practice, my concept of wisdom, goodness and honesty in my own way. Whatever I do will be an example, if only to my kids."

My dad was 22 when he wrote that
in 1966! So - see- these concerns have always been here for every generation and I think he had the right idea!

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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What a poignant letter.

    Your dad sounds like he was a very intelligent man.

    I dont understand about the war bit though? What war were they worrying about?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by LacyMay
    What a poignant letter.

    Your dad sounds like he was a very intelligent man.

    I dont understand about the war bit though? What war were they worrying about?

    Cold War, Russia Vs USA, Fidel Castro, race to get into Space, nuclear missle sites..yada. Or..Vietnam..I dunno..either or. I'm an 80s child, damn't.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sorry to hear about your dad.

    I agree he had the right idea and support his views,its better to live for ur beliefs than die for them because u wont have any beliefs anymore if u are dead.
    But the next war, unless something is done about the matter soon, will be perpetrated by vast, impersonal machines, guided by faceless men onto the homes of people they cannot even see.

    He may not have been right about the next war part since there have been wars before the Iraq 2003 war but he was right about the other part.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It does go to shoew that people do have the same sort of fears, and that believe that things are getting worse, and that somehow things were better when they were younger. I'm sure we'll all delude ourselves in to believing the same when we get older. :)

    Mr_Wobble ;)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Do you agree with him?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    NATURALLY! I am my fathers daughter. Knowing his parents as I did I can understand that his letter was a plea to them to understand that he could not live according to what they believed was best for him.

    However, he had many flaws as a person and a father and so I'm not sure he always managed to live up to the standards he set himself.

    But...As far as I can see he basically did right by us kids and allowed us the freedom to tell him when we thought he was wrong. And I totally agree with his dislike of those who try to get more and more and more at the expense of 'society' without doing what is best for mankind!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by byny
    NATURALLY! I am my fathers daughter. Knowing his parents as I did I can understand that his letter was a plea to them to understand that he could not live according to what they believed was best for him.

    However, he had many flaws as a person and a father and so I'm not sure he always managed to live up to the standards he set himself.

    But...As far as I can see he basically did right by us kids and allowed us the freedom to tell him when we thought he was wrong. And I totally agree with his dislike of those who try to get more and more and more at the expense of 'society' without doing what is best for mankind!

    Sounds like a good man. I'd have liked to have met him.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    the fears of man, from the dark shadows of the forrests to the threat of biological or nuclear anihalation are always there to trouble thinking people. but the fears are getting more numerous with each generation. around 1968 i used to write poetry about the stuff your old mans talking about in his letters.
    for my grandfathers generation most of the fears about war, besides the possibility of dieing, were loosing and being ruled by a foriegn power. get to the second world war and the fears change to a much bigger scenario. if theres a war, has the machine we have built going to anihalate all life? the fears are multiplying.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't you think there is less fear now the Cold War is over M.Roll?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Toadborg
    Don't you think there is less fear now the Cold War is over M.Roll?
    no. i think the MAD gave us a shaky but reasonable balance of power. now that balance has gone the only super power seems to be becoming a serious bully, causing more resentment and injustice. breeding more terrorism and inventing fears for it's own ends. terrorists are becoming ever more dangerous and determined and i believe it is only a matter of time before they get hold of and use some pretty awful weapons, which we have little or no defence against.
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