the clock of the long now

‘why did you have children?’ someone asked philip berrigan,who gave up being a monk and a priest to get married. ‘how could you bring them into this world?’

that was 25 years ago. i don’t remember his answer exactly, but it was something like, how could he not? in other words, in a single word, hope.

a few years ago, michael chabon showed his son the 10,000-year clock of the long now, which got him thinking: ‘in having children–in engendering them, in loving them, in teaching them to love and care about the world–parents are betting, whether they know it or not, on the clock of the long now. they are betting on their children, and their children after them, and theirs beyond them…. if you don’t believe in the future, unreservedly and dreamingly, if you aren’t willing to bet that somebody will cry when the clock finally runs down, ten thousand years from now, then i don’t see how you can have children. if you have children, i don’t see how you can fail to do everything in your power to ensure that you win your bet’ (blessed unrest, 154).

hawksley workman puts it more succinctly: ‘hopeless isn’t true.’

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2 Responses to the clock of the long now

  1. shelleyshell says:

    Thanks. Good to think about the future, not just in terms of 5 or 10 years but in terms of generations. The Elders teach us to think about how our actions will affect the next 7 generations.

  2. the elders have much to teach, and we have much to learn. in thinking far ahead, thinking like ents, like a mountain, we are learning to slow down, for we move too fast.

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