These days, events on the order of a human lifetime are outside the scope of thought for this time and generation. The concept of seeing things in the context of a few years seems odd and even a year is difficult to approach. We in this world and time have accustomed ourselves to a life composed of moment to moment instantaneous experience. People follow one event to the next as if to blindly follow steps in the sequence without stepping back to consider the sequence itself.
This Fall found me working my way through Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, which is another fantastic success from an author who understands this message. He and a growing community of similarly minded thinkers have come together to contribute to the Long Now Foundation. The foundation describes its purpose thus:
The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996* to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide counterpoint to today’s “faster/cheaper” mind set and promote “slower/better” thinking. We hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.
The foundation aims to further its goal through seminars, essays and projects serving to redirect attention towards more significant and deserving ends. Check out some of the plans, discussion, and images of the 10,000 year clock and take a minute to think about some of the ideas behind it.