The 10,000 Year Clock
This month is the start of a new decade. I consider myself a long term thinker, and for me, 10 years is a long time. But is it really? And how would I define “long term”?
These are the questions I started to ask myself after learning about the Long Now Foundation’s signature project, the 10,000 year clock.
The 10,000 year clock is a giant clock, currently under construction, that’s meant to last 10 millenia and every millenium it will play a unique tune.
This got me thinking about the long term. I’ve never thought about what this world will be like 10 years in the future, let alone 100 years, or 10,000 years. I’ve never thought about what the world would look like after my lifetime. And it’s clear that many others think the same. Just look at how we’re treating the planet.
At this rate, will humans be alive 10,000 years from now? Will anyone be around to hear the clock ring?
In Michael Chabon’s essay on the clock, The Omega Glory, he gave a powerful answer:
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.
We must think long term. We must think beyond our own lifetimes. For the sake of our children and for future generations.
How can we as individuals and as a species think longer term?