Tuesday, April 28, 2009
"Clock of the Long Now"
I noted in a recent post the unfortunate trend among youngsters to say they expect a bleak future (at best) for humans on this planet.
The Long Now Foundation's Millennium Clock project is designed to rescue us all from the blinders of short-term thinking, and to encourage its hopeful opposite. Novelist Michael Chabon:
When I told my son about the Clock of the Long Now, he listened very carefully, and we looked at the pictures on the Long Now Foundation’s website. “Will there really be people then, Dad?” he said. “Yes,” I told him without hesitation, “there will.” I don’t know if that’s true, any more than do Danny Hillis and his colleagues, with the beating clocks of their hopefulness and the orreries of their imaginations.But in having children—in engendering them, in loving them, in teaching them to love and care about the world—parents are betting, whether they know it or not, on the Clock of the Long Now. They are betting on their children, and their children after them, and theirs beyond them, all the way down the line from now to 12,006. If you don’t believe in the Future, unreservedly and dreamingly, if you aren’t willing to bet that somebody will be there to cry when the Clock finally, ten thousand years from now, runs down, then I don’t see how you can have children.
And, having them, how you can indulge the attitude of despair. Let's wind that clock.