This chapter's exercise is about doing some personal reflection. There are no right or wrong answers here, instead this is an opportunity for you to take some time and think about your ethical values and beliefs.
A letter to the past (10 mins.)
This exercise asks you to explore what it would take to change your mind about something important.
Imagine someone from the past who held views characteristic of that time. Also imagine, for the sake of the exercise, that this person is not too different from you - perhaps you would have been friends. Unfortunately, many people in the past were complicit in horrible things, such as slavery, sexism, racism, and homophobia, which were even more prevalent in the past than they are now. And, sadly, this historical counterpart is also complicit in some moral tragedy common to their time, perhaps not out of malevolence or ill-will, but merely through indifference or ignorance.
This exercise is to write a short letter to this historical friend arguing that they should care about a specific group that your present self values. Imagine that they are complicit in owning slaves, or in the oppression of women, people of other races, or sexual minorities.
For the sake of this exercise, imagine your historical counterpart is not malevolent or selfish, they think they are living a normal moral life, but are unaware of where they are going wrong. What could you say to them to make them realize that they’re doing wrong? What evidence are they overlooking that allows them to hold their discriminatory views? You might want to write a few paragraphs or just bullet points, and spend time reflecting on what you write.