Practicing Mindfulness While Exercising Long-Term Thinking

Photo by Michael Competielle

Changing the world for the better begins with individuals creating inner peace within themselves.

Dalai Lama

Circadian Rhythms and Regenerative Thoughts

Every day as I writing I’m researching to find meaning and purpose in my thoughts and philosophies. When words or topics reemerge I’ll gravitate towards the concept and close the loop in my mind. My world has become connected by following the great minds that spent their time contemplating the problems of the present to share in the future.

Last year I was reading an enlightening article by Zachary Crockett The organization building a 10,000-year clock funded by Jeff Bezos. The article explains how a group of brilliant long term thinkers is working to create The Manual for Civilization Begins with a 10,000-year clock and library. The group called The Long Now Foundation established itself to develop long term thinking to solve what appears to be unsolvable problems by thinking long term and planting the seeds for balancing our modern societies’ shortsightedness.

“When I was a child, people used to talk about what would happen by the year 02000. For the next thirty years they kept talking about what would happen by the year 02000, and now no one mentions a future date at all. The future has been shrinking by one year per year for my entire life. I think it is time for us to start a long-term project that gets people thinking past the mental barrier of an ever-shortening future. I would like to propose a large (think Stonehenge) mechanical clock, powered by seasonal temperature changes. It ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium.”

Daniel Hillis

The Long Now Foundation was developed in 01996 (the five-digit date added the extra zero to solve the deca-millennium bug that will appear in 8,000 years). An assemblage of some of the world’s greatest minds is paving the pathway to thinking and creating for 10,000 years into our future.

Imagine if society had to reset itself within this moment back to the beginning. The Long Now is preparing a library of essential books that will help bring a new civilization up to speed. With donations from many scholars, writers, and artists, it was the donation from Brian Eno, a Long Now board member and my beloved pseudo mentor, that helped me make the connection to the concept of Long Term thought.

With Eno’s philosophies of Generative Music and Art such as 77 Million Paintings we look within the mind of one of our most brilliant thinkers. Brian’s thoughts are often on works that will regenerate themselves or use mathematical analytics to develop nearly infinite possibilities of creations. More so than any artist could ever produce in a lifetime.

As I look at my most treasured inspirations I’m beginning to see the connection to the universe based on their recognition of long term thinking. From Nikola Tesla with Polyphase Electric and Regenerative Power Generation to Steve Jobs‘ Infinite Loop to Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns and aforementioned Eno’s Generative Art.

An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The “returns,” such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. 

Ray Kurzweil

Long Term Thinking Within This Moment

Writing about the present with my focus on being mindful does not mean I’m avoiding the future. Staying present in a moment allows us to maximize the experience and not waste the resource of this moment. By being present we become connected and absorptive to what powers life can present us. Being present in the moment does not mean we are thinking in the short term and can clearly have the opposite effect.

Modern-day life has most of us thinking about life and situations for the short term. As we engage with each other, watch films, or view art we want to feel good at this moment as we are constantly rushing to the next great thing. The future of our experience and decisions is often overshadowed by rush we get within a moment.

It’s moments like this where the practicing of mindfulness comes into effect. How do you feel as you engage in conversation or connect with a film or works of art? As we learn to become emotionally present we often feel as though we are active in short term thinking however that is untrue.

Mindfulness For Our Future

Most decisions I make I feel are for the long term while I keep my mind in the present. The foods I eat and products I’ll consume are each given a conscience review prior to the purchase as I hold sustainability and necessity paramount in the decision process.

My thoughts and philosophy has become fine-tuned as I’m focusing far out into the distance of my goals. I’m continuously pushing the bar farther away as I continue to learn and develop. As literary and artworks are preserved and curated we need to cherish the generous thoughts of those who felt it necessary to preserve our past to learn in the present about our futures.

The Long Now Member 10800

Author: mtcwriter

Michael Competielle is a Creative Designer specializing in Sound, Brand and Experiential Design.

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