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Reflections on the Future

Written by Katharina Schmidt on . Posted in Feed the Sense

Seeing the future as a project: The Long Now Foundation aims at developping a new way of thinking about our time and future. Opposing the current cultural mainstream that depicts our future’s environment as devastated and non-livable and the people as lonely and ruled by technology, the Foundation offers a more optimistic suggestions for seeing the time that will come. Basically it is the suggestion to start thinking about it at all – not in terms of short periods as modern democracies’ elections are structured but in really long runs.

Civilization is about 10,000 years old – so why shouldn’t we envisage a future of the same length? Long Now wants to prove this is possible – in building an immense clock that shall run for the next 10,000 years. Financed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, a team of engineers and designers are working on a several hundreds feet tall clock that shall find its place in a mountain in the west of Texas. The place is most suitable in terms of preservation friendly environment factors – things important to consider when constructing a product that should survive 10,000 years! It is also difficult to reach as it takes a whole day of hiking and climbing to get there. The clock once finished shall just give the framework for a consciousness that envisages that long period of time – in order to entail other sustainable projects and ideas concerning a “Long Now” future.


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Founded just a few years before the last turn of the millennium when everybody was looking to that date and no further, Long Now startet a new way of year’s calculation: İn setting a zero in front of our year date – now we are living in 02015 –  we are ultimately reminded that there are hundreds and thousands of years to come. This implies a certain responsibility which shouldn’t only change the way we think about our future world but also the way we act concerning its maintenance. Following the question “Are we being good ancessors?” people should be encouraged to think more about future implications of today’s decisions.

Encouraging reflections on the future in a playful way, the platform Long Bets were invented. Online people can challenge each other with predictions about future’s developments – the minimum lapse of time is two years.

As reflection on the future goes along with responsibility for today’s good’s conservation, Long Now runs more projects that treats sustainable conservation of knowledge, language diversity and natural species.

Planting seeds, even knowing that one will never be able to harvest the crops: A motto and an idea for a new way of responsable and sustainable thinking. The ticking of the multi-millennium clock – once every hundred years – shall remind us of that.
The prototype of the clock

The prototype of the clock

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