How to be a Good Ancestor

How to be a Good Ancestor

It seems to me that being alive in the 21st century carries with it some responsibilities that perhaps our forebears didn’t share or perhaps should have shared but weren't aware of.

 Our greatest responsibility, and the largest one that seems to have been ignored by the majority of our antecedents,  is to ensure that in generations time our childrens’ childrens’ children and beyond look back on us as Good Ancestors. 

 So right now we need to thinking what that responsibility actually means and how we can ensure that in generations time, indeed in millenia to come, our descendants will look back on us as  good stewards of the world in which they inhabit. 

Philosopher Roman Krzniac has written an intelligent and compelling guidebook on the subject

“The Good Ancestor - How to Think Long Term in a Short Term World” and it’s important reading for those of us who feel the responsibilities of being a human. 

 As you might sense from the title and indeed from the conversations around COP 26, it's about understanding the need for collective action based not on the short term exigencies of the 4 year democratic cycle, but with the vision of the pharaohs or the great builders of the cathedrals of the middle ages. 

 In other words, we all need think not about changes to the world that we will see in our own lifetimes but of changes that will be longer than the four decades and ten in which we inhabit the earth. Sounds obvious right .. but as we have seen from COP and before it Paris, the climate change agenda has been difficult to push through in part because the world's politicians do not think long term. 

 We have always had the ability to plan beyond the horizon , and to plan for the benefit of the many, not just the advantage of the few. Otherwise we would not have the NHS ! But it seems that in the digital age of fast communication and of instant gratification we have fallen out of the habit of thinking long term today to create a better tomorrow. 


Krzniac is smart and persuasive. Food for thought and well worth some of your valuable time !