Monday, December 17, 2012

Deep Time and the Far Future

In a recent essay entitled "Deep Time" and the Far Future Astronomer Royal Martin Rees suggests that 'we need to extend our time horizons'. For while many people have now come to terms with the 'stupendous' time spans behind us – he argues – as a species we still struggle to comprehend the immensity of what lies ahead. 

Rees does not allude to them, but surely the ancient Maya deserve a mention in this context. Their more expansive sense of 'futurity' is surely one of the great attainments of their civilisation, and how ironic (and sad) it now is to witness the Long Count being hijacked, not only by assorted millenarian nuts, but also by a wider culture that regards humankind as probably the best that space, time and evolution can come up with, and which is therefore willing to anticipate an end to 'everything' around almost every corner.