Long Now Foundation

January 9, 1996 in filtered based on organisation


A list of good examples that promote long-term thinking must include the Long Now Foundation.


You will find the following under the organisations about page:

The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996* to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution. It  hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common. We hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.


It can be argued that 10 000 years is such a long time that it is not worth bothering about, but this is the same argument that is also used for ignoring a 22nd century perspective.  It is all about changing perspective to include more, not less, time and thereby expanding the current  ethics that our structures promote.


Civilization is revving itself into a pathologically short attention span. The trend might be coming from the acceleration of technology, the short-horizon perspective of market-driven economics, the next-election perspective of democracies, or the distractions of personal multi-tasking. All are on the increase. Some sort of balancing corrective to the short-sightedness is needed-some mechanism or myth which encourages the long view and the taking of long-term responsibility, where ‘long-term’ is measured at least in centuries. Long Now proposes both a mechanism and a myth.


Long Now Foundation use the 1000 year clock as focus point and also include what they call a “Library” dimension, based on the realization of the need for content to go along with the long-term context provided by the Clock.  (such as the Rosetta Disk , The Long Viewer and the Long Server ) that may provide inspiration and utility to the whole community of librarians and archivists. The Long Bets project – whose purpose is improving the quality of long-term thinking by making predictions accountable – is also Library-related.


The Long Now Foundation can be found here.

* The Long Now Foundation uses five-digit dates, the extra zero is to solve the deca-millennium bug which will come into effect in about 8,000 years.


Share Button