The long now: Leprosarium, Silver Surfer and books to free your mind
MLK went for a hike.
February 6, 2021
In the middle of a global pandemic, it is difficult, yet essential to think beyond the here-and-now. Yet, if we are to have a future on this planet, we must stay focused on the long now. In the words of the philosopher Roman Krznaric, we must become good ancestors; engage in long-term thinking and be ready to act now for the benefit of future generations. His new book offers important ideas and thoughts. At dusk, we strolled the streets of East Oxford, deep in conversation; discussing the future and the imminent dangers of climate change. We passed the street side "freelittlelibrary"; where people swap books during the epidemic. As always we were on the lookout for science fiction but came away empty handed. We soon found ourselves on Bartlemas Lane, a small hamlet where time seems to have stopped several centuries ago. Once the site of a leprosarium founded by Henry I in 1126 and rebuilt in 1329, this is where lepers were segregated from the medieval community of Oxford. In those days, the "Brethen of Bartlemas" were thought to be unclean, untrustworthy, and morally corrupt. In fact, people with leprosy were often forced to wear special clothing or even carry a bell announcing their presence.On this evening, St Bartholomew's Chapel, the old farm house and the almshouse looked serene in the fading light with little evidence of past suffering. Returning to the present day, we scaled the urban streets, catching a glimpse of Silver Surfer travelling faster-than-light through space on his surfboard-like craft. Hitching a ride, we made the spectacular winter sunset in South Park, wondering how to become good ancestors before the end of days.
February 11, 2021