Tuesday, March 17, 2009

At a snail's pace

Talk about timing: I write about snails as a metaphor for slowing down daily life, and mere days later, Wisconsin Public Radio's To the Best of Our Knowledge airs an excellent episode devoted to "Facing Time". It's packed with great segments, including a look at the Clock of the Long Now (a mechanical clock being constructed in the Nevada desert by the Long Now Foundation and designed to run for 10,000 years), an interview with Carl Honore "(the unofficial godfather of the Slowness movement"), and a conversation with anthropologist Wade Davis about the Australian aboriginal notion of "the Dreamtime."

I'm particularly drawn to this Slowness business, and sense a connection between it and this argument (run in Arthur's blog) by Douglas Rushkoff:

With any luck, the economy will never recover.

In a perfect world, the stock market would decline another 70 or 80 percent along with the shuttering of about that fraction of our nation’s banks. .... If you had spent the last decade, as I have, reviewing the way a centralized economic plan ravaged the real world over the past 500 years, you would appreciate the current financial meltdown for what it is: a comeuppance. This is the sound of the other shoe dropping; it’s what happens when the chickens come home to roost; it’s justice, equilibrium reasserting itself, and ultimately a good thing.

On the opposite end of the speed spectrum from the clock above is this item from the Blog of the Long Now about
an experiment in scale: By condensing 4.6 billion years of history into a minute, the video is a self-contained timepiece. Like a specialized clock, it gives one a sense of perspective. Everything — from the formation of the Earth, to the Cambrian Explosion, to the evolution of mice and squirrels — is proportionate to everything else, displaying humankind as a blip, almost indiscernible in the layered course of history.

The video is a project of the provocatively named Seed magazine, where I also found all sorts of other cool stuff I intend to share here ... eventually.

No comments: