The Long Now Foundation

is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking.

Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years —
a timespan we call the long now.

Our Mission
'now' means about three days 'nowadays' means about thirty years 'the long now' means about 20,000 years

We hope to help each other be good ancestors.
We hope to preserve possibilities for the future.

TOP: Bristlecone pines are among the longest-lived of any life forms on Earth / Janine Sprout, CC BY-SA

BOTTOM: Ise's inner shrine has been rebuilt every 20 years since 00004 BCE / Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, CC-BY

Our work began with

The Clock of the Long Now

an immense mechanical monument, installed in a mountain, designed to keep accurate time for the next 10,000 years.

The Clock

It is still being assembled deep inside a mountain in west Texas. The Clock provides a rare invitation to think and engineer at the timescale of civilization. It offers an enduring symbol of our personal connection to the distant future.

The Clock will mark time with specially-designed dials and a chime generator — designed with Brian Eno — that can produce over 3.5 million unique bell chime sequences,  for each and every day The Clock is visited for the next 10,000 years.

Work on The Clock continues at present. No completion date has been set.

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Join now Starting at $8/month

TOP: The chime generator, a mechanical computer that sounds The Clock's bells.

BOTTOM: Clock builders complete assembly of the Clock Winder.

Our foundation is home to a select group of projects which aim to foster long-term thinking.

Our Projects

Many of our projects engage deep questions about preservation and continuity on long timescales.

Our Rosetta Project has compiled an archive of thousands of human languages and fabricated an artifact, The Rosetta Disk, which can preserve that information accessibly for thousands of years. In 02016 we helped land one onto a comet for safekeeping. In 02018 we helped put another onto the moon. A few hundred copies have been distributed around the globe.

Other Long Now projects include Long Bets (our long-term predictions betting arena), the Manual for Civilization (our civilization-rebuilding library), and our monthly Talks (seminars and interviews with long-term thinkers). We have also successfully incubated organizations with long timescales, like Revive & Restore (genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species).

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Meet our community

TOP: The Rosetta Disk sits in a four inch sphere that protects it and provides 6x magnification.

BOTTOM: The Passenger Pigeon was the first species Revive & Restore considered for de-extinction. / Birds of America by John James Audubon

A community of practice is essential for long-term thinking — so we gather regularly to learn and share and connect. Everyone is welcome to join us on the journey.

Our Community

Long-term thinking benefits from diversity and discussion. Each month our Talks series invite a domain expert to explore their work in the context of the next and last 10,000 years. We share this media with our global audience via our social channels and member newsletter.

Our local community gathers in San Francisco, California — where the administrative offices of The Long Now Foundation double as an award-winning public space called The Interval. This lively ‘third space’ features craft cocktails, artisan coffee and tea, a library that stretches from floor to ceiling, and large-scale prototypes from the 10,000-year Clock project.

Everyone everywhere is invited to join us on this journey. Our global membership program connects over 11,000 individuals across more than 65 countries to a whole world of long-term thinking.

Join now Starting at $8/month

TOP: Long Now members in conversation at The Interval.

BOTTOM: The Interval, The Long Now Foundation's bar, café, museum and event space.

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