Deep inside a mountain in western Texas, a huge clock is being built. When its assembly will be completed, the clock will be huge not only in its physical size, but also in the magnitude of the time it will measure. It will tick only once a year, and its hand will move once in every 100 years and complete a full cycle in one millennium.
"The long now clock" is an initiative of the American scientist and entrepreneur Danny Hillis, and this is how he explains why he decided to build it, in the project's website:
"I cannot imagine the future, but I care about it. I know I am a part of a story that starts long before I can remember and continues long beyond when anyone will remember me. I sense that I am alive at a time of important change, and I feel a responsibility to make sure that the change comes out well. I plant my acorns knowing that I will never live to harvest the oaks."
Perhaps one of the reasons that so many people feel that something is broken in our society, is that we lost the sense of the long now. We live in a culture that expects immediate results. We can hardly ever take our time to fully appreciate things. We are educated from a very young age, that we have to live by a clock that ticks in seconds at best.
Along with other harmful results, this fast paced culture may distort our sense of justice, as it makes us become out of sync with reality. It creates an effect similar to how the spokes of a wheel seem to move backwards in old movies. Our brains were not designed to work in such a fast pace all the time, so we many times loose parts of the picture, and make up the rest in a distorted and self centered manner.
So how about taking a deep breath and slowing down a little from time to time? maybe by relearning to appreciate the long now, we can get a better perspective of ourselves and of the world we live in.