The Future of Vision

Are we only living short-term today? Was that better in the past?

Centuries, even millennia ago, a few people built things that were meant to last “forever”. The grand cathedrals of Europe or the great wall of China — such projects took many lifetimes to complete. It’s not like the projects were intended to finish quickly, and they just got a little off schedule — they were actually meant to take longer than a single human lifetime. Granted, there were not many people doing these, but there still were enough visionaries to make a difference.

Today, projects have deadlines and schedules. None of these outlast the life expectation of their founder. Even large-scale projects like landing on the moon which require the cooperation, and the coordinated effort of hundreds of thousand workers are scheduled to take only a decade.

It is true we can achieve much, much, much more today than we could hundreds of years ago. Yet, we no longer have long-term projects — projects that will take longer than a generation to complete, that their founders will never get to see. With the climate change threatening the welfare of billions of people just one generation away we could even argue that we actually lost the ability to function as a civilization for any long-term project.

Are we not missing out on opportunities? What do you think?

If you had to design a project whose completion you would not live to see, what would you want to build?