Stewart Brand On The Ten-Thousand-Year Clock
In the opening manifesto for the Long Now Foundation, I wrote, “Civilization is revving itself into a pathologically short attention span.” Because of accelerating technology and global economics, the pace of change is so rapid that it’s both exciting and kind of disorienting. Because it’s exciting, we will probably keep doing it. And because it’s disorienting, we’ll have some questions about it. The Clock speaks to that disorientation.
The concept of the Long Now places us where we belong, neither at the end of history nor at the beginning, but in the thick of it. We are not the culmination of history, and we are not start-over revolutionaries; we are in the middle of civilization’s story.
There’s an old saying that if your ideas prove to be a hundred years ahead of your time, you’ll be called a genius; if you’re fifty years ahead of your time, you’ll be called a visionary; but if you’re only five or ten years ahead of your time, you’ll most likely be called a pain in the ass.
This planet has been delivered wholly assembled and in perfect working condition, and is intended for fully automatic and trouble-free operation in orbit around its star, the sun. However, to insure proper functioning, all passengers are requested to familiarize themselves fully with the following instructions.
The needle bit my skin and then nestled into a vein: a clean hit, running through me like the Orient Express. New York heroin is like Daddy holding you and kissing you on the neck. It’s white, not dark and red like the Mexican heroin that I’d shot back home. It tastes like the sweet breath of Buddha.