We are huge fans of The Long Now foundation‘s 10,000 Year Clock. The Long Now Foundation as an organization “hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common.” This is the idea behind the 10,000 Year Clock, as it will keep time for 10,000 years and therefor provide some girth (time and place) for the concept of long-term thinking. Naturally, it’s taking a really long time to build it (the project started in 1989). Those of us who are interested in long-term thinking really enjoy the process and gradual unfolding of the endeavor – watching its measured, smart and steady progress.
The project began with an observation and idea by computer scientist Daniel Hillis :
“When I was a child, people used to talk about what would happen by the year 02000. For the next thirty years they kept talking about what would happen by the year 02000, and now no one mentions a future date at all. The future has been shrinking by one year per year for my entire life. I think it is time for us to start a long-term project that gets people thinking past the mental barrier of an ever-shortening future. I would like to propose a large (think Stonehenge) mechanical clock, powered by seasonal temperature changes. It ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium.”
Here’s a recent update:
More information is available here: 10000yearclock.net
The Long Now Foundation also hosts a very thought provoking seminar series in San Francisco. If you become a member, you get access to live audio broadcasts, no matter where you are. We are members of The Long Now and encourage you to join to! The more of us exploring long-term thinking, the better.
*All quotations in this post were taken from longnow.org