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Long Now Seminars
Alex Steffen, 8 Aug 06

We've mentioned Long Now Seminars many times, and for good reason: they consistently feature some of the world's most interesting thinkers about time. Historians, futurists, ecologists, physicists... Long Now's got 'em all. Better still, they're podcasting them. I listened to Will Wright and Brian Eno's joint talk last night, and found it mindblowing and full of insight into art, music, games and the process of change. I suspect most of the others are just as good.

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Must say that I wanted to have someone attend in person and blog the recent seminar by John Rendon of the Rendon Group -- versus hearing the seminar over MP3. We miss a lot of content by not having all the context, and in the case of Rendon specifically, it's all the context that is important.

Rendon Group had been contracted by the U.S. Department of Defense to help "sell" the Iraq War in the run-up; they may also have contracts related to "promoting" the war. With this in mind, Rendon is clearly a shaper of opinion and therefore pointedly shaping the future through expectations management.

While I appreciate the bulk of the content from Long Now, I am suspicious when a party like Rendon is a participant without adequate explanation of what their role is in shaping the future. We don't know whether they are "on duty" when they contribute to the seminars, versus simply sharing information and opinion. We don't get ALL the necessary context that will help us establish whether they are inert at that moment, or actively shaping the future to some other unannounced third-party's specification through the seminar itself.

In other words, caveat lector.

Posted by: Rayne on 9 Aug 06



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