Not So Much ‘Long Now’, More ‘Long This-Is-Fine’

By Alan Ralph on January 31, 2020 — 1 min read

The 10,000-Year Clock Is a Waste of Time

David Karpf, Wired:

There is a clock being constructed in a mountain in Texas. The clock will tick once a year, marking time over the next 10,000 years. The clock is an art installation. It is intended as a monument to long-term thinking, meant to inspire its visitors to be mindful of their place in the long arc of history. I think it is a monument to something else: a profound failure of the imagination. The clock is a testament to willful blindness, as today’s tech barons whistle past the grim realities of the oncoming catastrophe that is man-made climate destabilization. Even worse: It is a reminder that social chaos is never evenly distributed.

I was a subscriber to the print edition of WIRED Magazine (remember that? I sure do. Those day-glo colours scarred my eyeballs for eternity) in the 1990s, when they first wrote about the Clock of the Long Now / Millennium Clock / 10,000-Year Clock and the Long Now Foundation. Kudos to the current management for revisiting this and showing the reality 20 years on. As the sub-heading of the article states:

It’s less a monument to long-term thinking than a Gilded Age distraction.

I’d also add that some of the articles that WIRED published back in the day were stomach-churning in the amount of gushing poured over their subjects. Case in point: PUSH!, which has not aged well. (See also: just about everything written by Nicholas Negroponte.)

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply