WILL you even read to the end of this sentence?
I asked because social philosopher and author Roman Krznaric reckons we are “living in the age of the tyranny of the now, where the greatest challenge facing humankind is our inability to think long term,”,as he will discuss in this afternoon’s free talk at the online 2020 York Festival of Ideas.
Sorry, you can’t read his powerful new book just now. Be patient. You will have to wait until July 16 when The Good Ancestor: How To Think Long Term In A Short-Term World will be published by WH Allen (Penguin Random House).
For a taster, tune in this afternoon, when Krznaric will contend: “Politicians can barely see past the next election or businesses past the next quarterly report, and we are addicted to the latest tweet and the ‘buy now’ button.
“How can we overcome this frenetic short-termism and extend our time horizons to tackle long-term challenges from the climate crisis to threats from artificial intelligence and genetically engineered pandemics?”
Krznaric will reveal how you can expand your imagination far beyond the here and now. Exploring everything from the seventh-generation thinking of indigenous peoples and politically empowered “guardians of the future” to the history of the London sewers and the latest neuroscience research, he will argue that we have an inbuilt capacity to become “cathedral thinkers”.
“It is time to confront one of the most vital questions of the 21st century: How can we be good ancestors?” says Krznaric, a “public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society”.
His books, such as Empathy, The Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained, have been published in more than 20 languages. His new one, the aforementioned The Good Ancestor: How To Think Long Term In A Short-Term World, is “the book our children’s children will thank us for reading”, says U2 guitarist The Edge.
After growing up in Sydney and Hong Kong, Krznaric studied at the universities of Oxford, London and Essex, where he gained a PhD in political sociology.
Founder of the world’s first Empathy Museum, he is a research fellow of the Long Now Foundation in San Francisco and his writings have been influential among political and ecological campaigners, education reformers, social entrepreneurs and designers. H
Online admission is free to today’s talk but booking is required at: eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-be-a-good-ancestor-tickets-105238182236.
Oh, and good news, if you have only a short-term attention span, the talk shouldn’t take up too much if your time. It lasts only 50 minutes.
Brought to you remotely by the University of York, the 2020 York Festival of Ideas is into its last two days but is still brimful of ideas this weekend, gathered under the new online umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For full details, visit yorkfestivalofideas.com/2020-online/.
Did you know?
FOUNDED by Roman Krznaric, the Empathy Museum’s offices are in London but this international arts project does not have a permanent home. “All our projects are travelling, nimble pop-ups – they’ve been across the UK and to Belgium, Ireland, the USA, Australia, Brazil and even Siberia,” says the website.
“The Empathy Museum is an experiential project exploring the art of empathy through stepping into the shoes of other people and looking at the world though their eyes.” In a nutshell, “outrospection”, rather than introspection.