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Yetanotheruser's avatar

Have you experienced, or can you conceive Seven Generations?

Asked by Yetanotheruser (14328 points ) September 13th, 2012

One of the Native American nations had a philosophy that suggested we make each decision as if it were to effect the next seven generations. When I heard that, I had trouble envisioning seven generations within my own family. Recently, though I had a sort of epiphany, when I heard that my nephew’s granddaughter gave birth to twins. I had held my grandmother’s hand (1st generation), and of course my father taught me what a “man’s” handshake should be (2nd). Many, many times I shook the hand of my brother (3rd), as well as my nephew’s (4th), I have also held the hand of his daughter (5th), as well as her daughter, the new mom (6th). When I see the twins, I can hold their hands as well, and symbolically pass on the handshake to the seventh generation.

Can you see seven generations into your future?

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17 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I have some grand-nieces and nephews. I can trace my lineage on my paternal grandfather’s line back to his grandfather (my great-great grandfather).

If I am counting correctly, that makes sever generations.

Great-great, great, grandfather, father, me, my children, my sibs’ grandchildren.

marinelife's avatar

It is a wonderful philosophy, isn’t it? The Menominee Indians practice that method of managing their forest.

Coloma's avatar

No. Last of the Mohicans here, almost, except for my daughter, who is truly the last.
I am the only child of only children and my daughter is my only. At this time she and her SO are not wanting children, most likely never.
I like the concept though.

Hey, every species has to die out sooner or later, probably best to treat the seven generations in a more global manner. :-)

bkcunningham's avatar

My father celebrated his 93rd birthday on September 11. He has held his great-grandchildren in his arms. His father was alive and held the parents of these children in his arms when they were born. My father was held in the arms of his grandfather when he was a newborn babe and the cycle begins. I can trace my family back further, but to actually be able to touch the hands of my father and to know he was touched my great-grandfather is really a very deep thoughtful feeling.

So, it is my great-grandfather,(1st), my grandfather (2nd), my father (3nd), my brother (4rd), his son and daughter (5th), their children, (6th)...they are still very young.

Beautiful question, @Yetanotheruser.

Thammuz's avatar

Consider that native americans had a much shorter lifespan and procreated earlier than we do, partly because of said shorter lifespan, partly because of higher infant mortality, partly because of social custom.

Most of the middle class and upwards, in the western world, usually procreates between 25 and 30, native americans (and most ancient civilizations) started procreating between 15 and 20, which shaves off a good 70 years to that timespan. Even conservatively, in our society we’re looking at about 175 years for 7 generations, versus only 105 for the indians.

Furthermore, technology now follows Moore’s law, thanks to a global network of researchers with different agendas sharing the same informations.

In less than a century we went from having just invented a way of recording video to being able to view photorealistic video and audio on a screen so small it fits in your pocket, without even having the recorded video in any physical storage on your person.

Hell, we have machines that can compose video and audio on the fly while reading and interpreting user input and matching the video and audio to it.

I doubt anyone, even people researching these exact technologies, would be able to claim they can envision where will we be in 50 years, let alone 3 and a half times that.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Last of the line, so in that sense no. However that fits pretty well with a lot of my personal philosophy so in that sense it’s pretty easy to envision. As Tolstoy wrote the important time is now, the important person is whomever you are with, the important thing is to do good to the person you are with. If you don’t take that as the ending, but rather as where to begin, I think it gets pretty easy to look down the road and it quickly becomes second nature to consider our choices and their repercussions carefully before acting.

wundayatta's avatar

Sometimes I think that way. I have made plans with many generations in mind, but I haven’t acted on them. Right now I think there is a need to purchase land in the far North of the US or in Canada. In addition, we do try to minimize our footprints on the earth, although I’m not sure I’d say we did that great a job of it. Maybe we should have a smaller, more energy efficient house. Maybe we shouldn’t have a car at all.

But we are doing our best to move to a knowledge economy and to raise our kids to be experts in the knowledge economy, with the idea that that economy uses the least energy and is most efficient.

I work in the knowledge industry. That is about laying a better groundwork for young people to help them live in a better future. It lays the groundwork for generations, I think.

I don’t do business, so I can’t build a business with a 150 year plan. But if I were a business person, I would do that. I learned that three decades ago when I read a novel about a Chinese Businessman who planned for 150 years. This is not an idea exclusive to Indians. A lot of people think this way.

Sunny2's avatar

I can imagine it, but that’s all. There are not that many of us left now and no new offspring producers thus far in the next rung down. Or is it up?

Coloma's avatar

Well….I have well over 7th generation hybrid seeds from my little micro-farm. Stay the hell away Monsanto…you will NEVER get your dirty little paws on my crop! lol
Sooo, my 7th generation contribution is more flowers for the planet! ;-)

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, I know the names and something of the life styles of my great great grandparents, and I could very well be a great grandparent myself, since I have adult grandchildren.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As much as I would like to, I cannot envision what life on Earth will be like seven generations from now. While there are some traditions that have withstood the test of time in our family and still bring great pleasure, there are others that have been retired, and that is okay, too.

augustlan's avatar

One of my great-great grandmothers was still alive when I was a toddler, some of my great grandparents were still alive when I was an adult, and the last of my grandparents passed away within the last 5 years. Then there’s my mother and her siblings, me and my cousins, and all of our children. That’s 6, right? My children are the oldest of the most recent generation at 14, 15 and 18 years old, so I imagine there will be some grandchildren for me in the next 10–15 years or so (and I am already a step-grandparent.) I look forward to having touched 7 generations of my family!

bkcunningham's avatar

@augustlan, what an honor to have been born to see (even if you were too young to remember) your great-great grandmother. How old was she when you were born?

augustlan's avatar

@bkcunningham I actually do have very fuzzy memories of her. It’s nice. :)
I don’t know how old she was when I was born, but she was like 102 when she died.

bkcunningham's avatar

I hope you have photos. That is a nice thought to start my morning. Very nice. :)

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Seek's avatar

It’s hard to think of in my family. I only knew my mother’s mother. All of my other grandparents had died long before I was conceived.
My husband’s luckier in that regard. He remembers his Great-Grandmother Shirly very well, spent summers with his grandparents, lived with his parents, is himself, has his own son, and his cousin has a grandchild. That’s six.

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