The Methuselah Tree

High in the White Mountains of California can be found the world’s oldest individual living organism – The Methuselah Tree.

A Great Basin Bristlecone Pine, the Methuselah Tree is 4,842 years old – 100 years older than the start of Ancient Egyptian ‘Old Kingdom‘ and the building of the Sphinx and Great Giza Pyramids and 2,000 years older than the founding of Ancient Rome.

“Civilization is revving itself into a pathologically short attention span.

The trend might be coming from the acceleration of technology, the short-horizon perspective of market-driven economics, the next-election perspective of democracies, or the distractions of personal multi-tasking. All are on the increase.

Some sort of balancing corrective to the short-sightedness is needed-some mechanism or myth which encourages the long view and the taking of long-term responsibility, where ‘long-term’ is measured at least in centuries.” - Stewart Brand

The Long Now Foundation is an organisation that exists to creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility for the next 10,000 years.

Photo by Jim Gordon

Comments

  1. A couple of years ago my wife and I were driving in Scotland, and we came across the Fortingall Yew. It’s a yew tree that’s been there in this tiny village for at least two thousand years – nobody knows for sure, as you’d have to cut it down to confirm it. It wasn’t signposted, there was no gift shop, there was nobody about. It was just there, in quiet obscurity, as it has been for so many centuries. It was more profound and affecting than anything we saw in the castles and galleries we visited on the rest of our holiday.

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