How Art and Culture Can Help Us Rethink Time

A new piece in BBC’s Deep Civilisation series explores the role of art in long-term thinking. The piece is authored by founders of a new organization, The Long Time Project, whose mission is to “[stretch] our capacity to care about the long-term so that we take responsibility for it in the short term.”

Our predisposition towards story, and the deeply emotional nature of our decision-making, makes art and culture foundational to ensuring our future as a species.

That’s why we have established an initiative called the Long Time Project, which champions art and culture as a route to helping people think and act more long-term. This is about everything from the YouTube videos we watch, to the adverts we scroll past, to the box-sets we binge, to the art exhibitions we attend, to the theatre we see, to the clothes we wear and the furniture we use. All these art forms and creative works are shaped by small “c” culture: the collective values, norms and narratives that underpin and drive our societies. This culture shapes our collective direction of travel, from the kinds of laws we make, to the technology we develop, to the way we distribute wealth.

So, how exactly can art and culture in this broadest sense expand our perception of time and the future?

Art can stretch our time frames, helping us develop what geologist Marcia Bjornerud calls“timefulness”: the ability to locate ourselves within eras and aeons, rather than weeks and months.

Via BBC Future.
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What is the long now?

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.

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