Yesterday I posted about Leap Seconds, probably the shortest discernable interval of time we can experience. Today, New Years Eve, we’re going to go big. A while back a friend sent my some info on a very special clock, and I’ve been saving it to post on New Years, because it seems to fit this time of year better that almost any other. The clock has been named The Clock of the Long Now because it is a clock that ticks and chimes to its own drummer, so to speak. It’s a clock that measures time more like the earth does. Well, perhaps not quite like the earth, in eras and epochs, but at least in centuries and millennia. The idea is that we live is a much-compressed notion of “now” to our own detriment, as perhaps even our peril. A 10,000-year clock would help us to reshape our notion of the future, and what we might do now to prepare for it. Here are a couple of excerpts:
I think of the oak beams in the ceiling of College Hall at New College, Oxford. Last century, when the beams needed replacing, carpenters used oak trees that had been planted in 1386 when the dining hall was first built. The 14th-century builder had planted the trees in anticipation of the time, hundreds of years in the future, when the beams would need replacing. Did the carpenters plant new trees to replace the beams again a few hundred years from now?
Ten thousand years - the life span I hope for the clock - is about as long as the history of human technology. We have fragments of pots that old. Geologically, it's a blink of an eye. When you start thinking about building something that lasts that long, the real problem is not decay and corrosion, or even the power source. The real problem is people. If something becomes unimportant to people, it gets scrapped for parts; if it becomes important, it turns into a symbol and must eventually be destroyed. The only way to survive over the long run is to be made of materials large and worthless, like Stonehenge and the Pyramids, or to become lost. The Dead Sea Scrolls managed to survive by remaining lost for a couple millennia. Now that they've been located and preserved in a museum, they're probably doomed. I give them two centuries - tops.
If you yourself are intrigued by this idea, you can click on the links and read more. There is a Long Now Foundation, with a blog, a place to become a member, even to donate towards the project – to become a part of a future that none of us will ever live to see, but are still, like those replacement oak trees, very much connected to.
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.