If we continue like this, future generations will consider us criminals. The short-term vision in the personal and the organizational is destroying us as a society. The so-called “cathedral thought” as the way to see the future and face its challenges, urges us. Our politicians cannot see beyond the next elections, and they are infecting us, the organizations see until the next report. We need to look for ways to think and act in this short-term world. It is curious that at the moment in which we live more and more years, we think more and more in the short term forgetting the future generations that will inhabit the planet. Future generations will consider us criminals. carbon criminals, ecological criminals and they will say: but why weren’t they preparing for the next pandemic? Why weren’t they watching the threats of artificial intelligence and other technologies? Why weren’t they being good ancestors? I think, as individuals, a lot of times we’re looking at the phone all the time, stuck in the present. How were medieval cathedrals built? with a long-term vision, thinking that you are going to start a cathedral, that you are not going to see finished in your life, as happened to Gaudí when the works of the Sagrada Familia began in 1882. That idea of “cathedral thinking” is part of human history and we have to recover it. Not getting caught up in those lives in the short term, as individuals or in the culture.
If we think about it and ask ourselves how other living beings have done it to survive, how they have done it for ten generations or more, be it beavers or birds. Well, taking care of the place, taking care of its environment, in which its offspring will live, they do not destroy their nest, they respect the limits of their ecosystem. And that’s the opposite of what we humans do. And that’s why we have climate change, biodiversity loss. We have to learn what the boundaries of our ecosystem are and that’s how we take care of the planet, which in turn will take care of our children, and our children’s children, and so on in the future. One of the secrets to thinking well in the long run and being a good ancestor is not to think about time, but to think about the place, the terrain and feel that connection.
This is a thought experiment that we can all do. Think of a child, a nephew, a niece, a grandchild we have and use our ability to imagine to think about the future. It could be alive in the 2100s. What will that world look like? I think thinking about those generations is a starting point for having a more universal vision. Well, I think about what you’re going to need. You’re going to need air to breathe. You’re going to need water. Then I have to worry about his life. I have to worry about my whole life. I think we are in the era of the rebels of time. There are more and more organizations, people, political groups, etc … even businesses, which are beginning to think beyond the here and now. Imagine a Secretariat of future generations in governments. An example of this could be an artist who invented the library of the future. A 100-year art project in which every year, for the next 100 years, a famous writer donates a book that is going to be kept secret and will not be read for 100 years. And at that time, the 100 books will be printed on paper from a thousand trees planted in a forest on the outskirts of Oslo. The first person has already donated the book, which he will never see published in his life. You’ll never meet readers, but it’s a cultural project that expands our empathy beyond time. Let’s look at the long term with more or equal intensity as we are doing with the short term.