I hope this email finds you well. It took a great deal of effort to get it to you, but hopefully that effort will not have been in vain.
I’m writing to you from what you would consider the future. Technology, in all its glory, hasn’t yet cracked the nut of time travel, but has perfected a means of communicating with the past. This wormhole email technique is not entirely legal, but then, I’ve never been much for the rules.
One of you is actually a great-great-great-great grandparent of mine, but in the interest of preserving the time stream as much as possible, that person will remain anonymous. Just know that at least one of you has a genetic line that carries on for generations.
As much as it pains me to say it -- and I’m sure pains you to hear it -- the written word in my world is gone. I often muse on the idea that human communication ended up as a bell curve -- Neanderthals grunted at cave paintings at the beginning; millions of people wrote billions of words across the Internet at its peak; and now at the end, we are little more than grunting cavemen once again. The only difference is that our pictures move.
When the written word went underground, it was handed down from father and mother to daughter and son in small enclaves to keep it alive. Now I’m all that’s left. I’m the only person that I know of in the entire universe who still uses the written word. That’s why it’s so important for me to reach you and ask for your help.
It began with the shortening of the language for the text message generation. Words got shorter and shorter until they virtually disappeared. People found it was easier to communicate with pictures and video.
Then a neurotechnologist developed an interface device that allowed the thoughts of a comatose patient to be transmitted to a video screen. It was hailed as an extraordinary medical breakthrough, but soon the technology was commoditized and sold to anyone who wanted one, and allowed people to communicate with their thoughts, which contained images and feelings, but no words or language whatsoever.
I’m sure you can divine what happened next. As soon as words were superfluous, they were gone. No one uses them any more. No one needs them any more. And there’s nothing I can do about it in my time.
So please, for me and for the good of humanity, keep reminding anyone who will listen how important words are. How nothing can replace a good book, a well-crafted letter, a compelling blog, or even a clever tagline. I know you’ll pass this on to your children -- I’m living proof -- but do whatever you can to pass it on to everyone.
Thanks for hearing me out. And I hope my spelling and grammar are correct. I don’t get to practice much.