Growing Out of the Past as a Seed for the Future

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelFormidling


Long-term thinking is a seldom human activity. Making long-term plans may even seem unrealistic, if naïve, since so much could be forever changing the initial conditions in ways that render long-term thinking immediately futile at the outset. The paleontologist, Stephen Jay Gould, has claimed about biological evolution that if you were to replay the tape of the last billion years of life on earth, it would be staggeringly unlikely to see the same creatures, including homo sapiens, emerge in just the same way. And from chaos theory we know that changing the initial conditions in a complex and unstable system, the subsequent evolution will differ exponentially from other evolutions with different, slight changes in the conditions. So, we cannot be any more confident when considering the future of the earth itself. Humans are now technologically advanced enough to be able to create not only extraordinary wonders but also civilization-scale problems. Nuclear war and climate challenges are among the riskiest problems facing us right now. And even if nuclear war is not very likely to occur, its consequences would be grave. Living in this new geological era of the Anthropocene, following the previous Holocene era, there seems to be an acute need for more long-term thinkers. I do not claim to be one of them. But a recruitment of skilled long-term thinkers seems essential to retain hope about the near and distant future. Or perhaps, rather, we need skilled long-term agents, displaying real agency on behalf of our future, instead of merely thinking about it – like I do. Notwithstanding, this is a brief review of the concept of long-term thinking.
TidsskriftTelicom: The Journal of the International Society for Philosophical Inquiry
Udgave nummer10
Sider (fra-til)50-60
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 2018
Udgivet eksterntJa


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