Taking Tea in the Kasbah

Last week y’all weighed the merits of having an abundance of knowledge about a few topics (deep and narrow) against the merits of having a little knowledge about a large number of things (vast and shallow). At last tally, far more of you chose to go the vast and shallow route than the deep and narrow avenue primarily because it left the door open to lifelong learning and allowed for a continued feeding of one’s curiosity of the world. Also, the vast and shallow option seemed to be more appealing to those who liked to chat it up with unsuspecting strangers in line at the coffee shop or walking down the street.

Those who chose the deep and narrow path had ingenious ways to get around what at first glance seemed to be the limiting factor with this option. One person decided to occasionally change up the topics of interest to keep things fresh and interesting. Another method involved surrounding oneself with other deep and narrow people so that you could be exposed to a variety of topics beyond your chosen few.

Kasbah readers are so innovative and forward thinking. Well done all of you.

I decided to go with vast and shallow for the many reasons listed in the comments. My interests are too varied, and truth be told, I am inclined to follow the whims of my ever-changing moods. While I’d love to be super knowledgable about some things, I don’t think I would be happy being pinned down to just a few topics.

And now for this week’s question:

Would you rather

go back in time and meet your ancestors

photo credit: robertbonnin via photopin cc

Shenanigans are afoot. photo credit: robertbonnin via photopin cc

– OR –

go forward in time and meet your great, great-grandchildren?

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

Don’t worry, good coffee still exists in the future. photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc


We’re time traveling again, intrepid readers! Which way will you go? Will you take a leap back to have a chat with your long deceased relatives? Or will you zoom forward and grab the chance to hang out with your Mini Me descendants? Ponder it a moment and then share your thoughts. I always love to hear from you.

21 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Would You Rather Question: Ancestors vs Descendants?

  1. Most absolutely, I’d go meet my ancestors! I’m a genealogy buff anyway, and what better way to get answers to all my questions than to ask them directly? Also, think of the photo-ops! I couldn’t turn that down. 😀

    • Yes, for a genealogy buff visiting ones ancestors would be the way to go. I’m with you on the photo ops! Oh, the shenanigans I would try to get them to do. But first, I’d like someone to tell me why no one is ever smiling in their photos.

      • Well, in the really old photos, they didn’t smile because it took so long to make the image that their faces would get tired if they did. I suppose by the time the technology improved, sober countenances were customary.

  2. That’s a hard one but I think I’d want to meet my descendants. I know something about my ancestors already but will never know about those who come after I am gone unless I get a little hangout time with them. There is something so hopeful and life-affirming about knowing you will get to know some of the people, especially in your family, who populate the future.

    • So true, Sara – we can research and glean stories from our relatives about those who came before us. But we’ll never know those whose lives are way out in the future.

  3. I have a deep and abiding fear of death. I cannot seem to reconcile it…working on that. Anyway, given that I have this fear…I’m not clear if meeting my descendants would intensify this fear and basically uproot any grounding I do have in reality. I fear it might. So, based on my fear of my fears, I would meet my ancestors to avoid the angsty futuristic complications.

    • I wish I could ease your fears with a few simple, yet totally wise comments, pal. Oh, to be that powerful…

      Yes, if going forward in time creates more anxiety and fear, then back in time you shall go. Perhaps one of your ancestors would have something comforting to say to alleviate some of your fears.

  4. Another great question! I didn’t think too long about it.
    I want to meet my children’s children’s children’s children, etc. Imagine what they will be able to tell me about modes of travel and communication. Imagine what I will be able to tell them!

    • It would be very cool to meet our future mini me’s and swap stories of life then and now. I think I would find it hard to keep a lid on what I saw in the future when I returned to the present, though. 🙂

  5. Another easy one. I would go back in time, because I’ve fantasized about it since I was a little girl. I’m sure my descendents will be lovely people and all, but to spend time with someone from 75 or 100 or 200 years ago and really understand their worldview would be a mindblowing experience. Thanks for asking… 😉

    • Mindblowing indeed. For us AND for them. I wonder where in the world I’d end up with my ancestors if I went back 200 years. I really hope they weren’t chicken farmers… 😉

  6. on ,
    Marcia said:

    I would love to meet some of my Danish ancestors on my Mom’s side of the family and Native American ancestory on my Dad’s side. Wish I could…

    • For some reason, I’m thinking your mom would advise you to not be “overly solicitous” when you do meet them. 😉

  7. on ,
    Brinda said:


    I’ll choose to hop in the DeLorean and go forward. I love to do the research thing about genealogy, but I’m not sure I’d be interested in the world of the past as I am the world of the future.

    • The future is such a wide open expanse of possibilities, isn’t it? To know what’s coming and how things will evolve would be so fascinating to know.

  8. Ancestors for me — I’m much more interested in the past than the future. Also, I don’t think I’m headed in the direction of having any direct descendants. 😉

    • What about that niece of yours? I’d be there would be some pretty rockin’ hair beads in the future to check out. 😉

  9. Although it would be so cool to meet my descendants, I’m going with ancestors. That way I could listen to their stories and pass them on to my children and their children and so on. They would live forever in the stories 🙂

    • I’d be tempted to record and/or video tape them all as they told their stories, though I’m sure that would freak them all out to see such technology. 😉

  10. Go back in time and what? Risk my existence? ‘Scuse me, but I paid attention to Michael J Fox’s lessons in what not to do with a time machine.
    But I don’t believe in knowing the future, either.
    Sure, I could go back and meet my ancestors, but Doc advises that the slightest interaction could drastically change future events, a theory proven in the sequel. That would mean meeting my ancestors while keeping my lip firmly zipped.
    I don’t think I can do that.
    Descendants, it is. But, I’ll have to be sure to keep my lip zipped when I return to my present time so that I don’t influence the future with my pre-knowledge.
    Hmm. Lip-Zip for a visit to the past, or for eternity once I return from my visit to the future?
    Dagnabbit! Suppose you’re not going to let me stay put, huh?
    Okay, okay, I’ll go to the past, meet the ancestors. From a tongue-wagging perspective, that challenge is the only conceivably doable choice.

    • Thank goodness for the Back to the Future films. They have certainly come in handy when weighing future vs past type of questions. Who knew they’d be so useful when we first watched them back in the 80’s?

      You’re right, if you mess with the past – even with what at first seemed like a fairly benign question or comment – all of the future threads connected to that will be altered. I also see what you mean about not inadvertently letting something slip about the future if you decided to go there.

      Either way, it would be hard to not say something. Perhaps you could look at your time travel experiences as “research” or story fodder to satisfy the urge to tell all in the present?

      Way to push yourself to come up with your final answer. 🙂

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