.::..Nicholas Sagan..::. …:.::..artworks and experiments…::.:…nicholassagan@gmail.com

The Clock of the LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOG Now: First bite.

As in The Clock of the Long Now, by Stewart Brand.  All this talk about the scale of time in the cosmos and how it relates to things that operate on the human level has got me revved up again.  In this case, a chapter called Kairos and Chronos made me think of all the thought-experiment stuff on the same subject from a while back.  Brand offers more of a historical analysis of the concepts, but I feel that they still do align with some of my propositions, if you will.

It might make sense that Kairons and sub-particles or tributary particles of the Chronon, much in the same way a Baryon-class object is composed of Quarks.  There might even be a threshold where a buildup of Kairons leads to the creation of a Chronon, much in the same way a collapsing star creates a singularity.

It sort of aligns with the suggestion of the singularity when the idea is applies to exponential technological development.  There will be a point where all the quantitative points along a progression lead up to one single moment where it becomes a qualitative event, referred to as the ‘singularity’.  It is also a useful way to desribe the point at which our level of scientific understanding falls behind the momentum of scientific progress where we will no longer be able to predict any given outcome.

The book really is full of some tremendous insights into the nature of time and our place in/with it.  Brian Eno is a member of the board of the Long Now Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to this 10,000 year clock project.  In fact, he coined the term “Long Now”.  Here is an exceprt from their webpage in case you don’t want to follow the link:

“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. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide counterpoint to today’s “faster/cheaper” mind set and promote “slower/better” thinking. We hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.”

Here are some quotes from the chapters in the book:

“At this singularity the laws of science and our ability to predict the future would break down.”;  “SPREAD OF TECHNOLOGY GIVES RISE TO A CULTURE OF IMMEDIACY”;  “Imagine a world in which time seems to vanish…”;   “Consider a coniferous forest.”;   “The destiny of our species is shaped by the imperatives of survival on six distinct time scales.”;  “They are not following time, but sustaining it…”;  “In some sense, we’ve run out of our story…”;  “Within the human cortex crouches the instinct to build something huge.”;  “I do not see how future generations can stagger onward with all this dead weight.”;  “Digital information is forever.”;  “It is only slightly facetious to say that digital information lasts forever – or five years, whichever comes first.”;  “…computer professionals call these monsters legacy systems.”;  “What has been done, thought, written or spoken is not culture.”;  “It is an unusually moving thing to initiate a message which will not be read until long after one’s death.”;  “Much was decided before you were born.”;  “Economic forecasting misses the real future because it has too short a range.”;  “Is the glass half full or half empty?  Depends on if you are pouring or drinking…”;  “This storm is what we call progress.”;  “General knowledge of history is less and less characteristic of American decision-makers and their aides.”;  “Fast learners tend to track noisy signals too closely and to confuse themselves by making changes before the effects of the previous actions are clear.”;  “..the more gradual and hidden the change, the more important it will (and has) turn out to be.”;  “People care about their place in history when their own past is valued.”;  “You can always improve things if you are prepared to wait.”

Like I said, just a few quotes…This book really does cover a lot of ground (and time for that matter!).  It is definitely a more hands-on and down to earth approach to developing and understanding of time on our scale and that of deep time.  Again, check out their website to read more and even read the book.  It’s worth the time.

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