32 thoughts on “A Long Reflection”

  1. I would call Mars settlement as exploration. Same goes for ocean settlements.
    I would say making the Starship as exploration. The problem with Shuttle was the lack of exploration. Or they say the shuttle was only an experimental rocket ship- it never got to an operational state.
    So, experimental or a process of exploring is to me the same damn thing.
    Or it seems everyone does things experimentally, except apparently, a bureaucracy.

  2. I had to check the calendar to make sure it isn’t April 1st.

    This is the first I heard of this “long reflection” idiocy. It’s irrational as heck, and doesn’t even give a reason why, even if we did embark on millennia of naval-gazing, why that has anything whatsoever to do with space exploration/utilization.

    I have no idea who or what is behind this idea, though I strongly believe that anything this profoundly stupid has to come from the left.

    BTW, the article got it sort of wrong, because it is indeed possible to halt progress and change. There’s even a word for it: death.

    1. On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of those, on their moment of victory laid down to rest, and so resting, died…

      Wait a million years? Wait until there are no existential threats to start? WTF are these front-holes smoking?

      The future belongs to those smart or brave enough to grab it with both hands..the rest of these…..people (I will be generous) can huddle in caves, waiting a million years to be certain that the time is right.

      1. I always thought that the reason ADHD crops up so much is that it is good for the group that individuals risk the unknown dark outside of the campfire’s light. If we were all “happy as clams” nothing would have changed in millennia…

  3. We will get the Long Reflection alright, when any effective means of utilizing energy resources is getting outlawed.

  4. The decedents of humanity 1 million years from now won’t much care how some thought we should spend an insignificant millennia. They will be otherwise occupied in their own space-time that looks nothing like this one. You might be able to reach it if you knew how to properly fall into a black hole. Or if you really understand the significance of that ratio 1 : 4 : 9.


    1. That’s closer to my problem with these people: Why should a robot engineer in 2045, much less some AI space-traveler in 2500 be bound by the faculty lounge navel gazing of a group of internet randos from 202x?

      1. Where was humanity – civilization, if you will, one thousand years ago? Was life worse, or better then? I’d ask the same for one million years ago, but Raquel Welch in a fur bikini aside, there were not a lot of people around then

        1. Good question I did a little research as per Wikipedia. As per the West: We are right in the Timeframe where Leif Erickson discovers Vinland. In the year 1021AD Harald Godwinson was one year away from being born (1022) who took the throne after his brother-in-law William The Confessor died without an heir leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and ultimate defeat at the hands of William the Conqueror:


          Meanwhile in North American we are only 121 years before:

          1142: League of the Iroquois is founded, and the Great Law of Peace is adopted by the Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, and Oneida people.[15] Wampum invented by Ayenwatha,


        2. Were you a serf and/or chattel slave working someone else’s land? Living harvest to harvest on the cutting edge of starvation? That was the reality of a thousand years ago.

          A graph showed humanity’s progress in horsepower/person: humans only (slaves as beasts of burden), then animal power (domesticated beasts of burden), water(and wind) powered machinery, and finally the Industrial Age. More Power may not make us ‘More Happy”, but the opposite makes us certainly less ‘happy’.

  5. Is there anything that these “rationalists” engage in that isn’t some sort of navel-gazing ineffectuality? Or trolley-problem-esque trip down one of the pitfalls of naive utilitarianism?

  6. They don’t really care what we might do in a thousand or a million years, they just want to stop us from doing anything now.

  7. A million years of funding for Departments of Long Reflecting. Aeon-long postdoctoral fellowships. Brilliant!

  8. Guys who have made their careers in sitting around thinking about Big Issues urge more money, time, and attention be devoted to sitting around thinking about Big Issues. Quelle surprise!

  9. While they’re sitting around thinking, someone’s going to sneak up behind them with a rock. Didn’t Heinlein say something along those lines?

    And isn’t Old Toby slang for the devil? As well as being quality ‘pipeweed’ in Tolkien?

    I didn’t pay much attention to the article (beyond getting that guy’s name wrong) – was there any sense of urgency attached to starting to do nothing for ten thousand years? It feels like the kind of thing that could be delayed for a bit without impacting the results.

  10. It meshes perfectly with Ibn Kuldhun’s theory of history. A people becomes successful and begins to get rich and prosperous. Riches accumulate and rot and corruption set in, and the people spend their time idling away on silly things, pampering themselves with luxuries, and they forget all the important things that once made them great.

    Meanwhile, out in the hinterlands, vicious and focused tribes of warriors unite with a singular purpose of sacking and dominating the nearby civilized people, which they easily accomplish. The barbarians take over, take all the stuff, and gradually become as lazy and idle as the people they conquered.

    The Western bubble in Kabul is but the latest example.

  11. Here are some of the smartest people in society and they are so smart they don’t need to do any research in decision making, planning, or accountability.

    Many problems and issues can’t be solved simply by thinking about them. Solutions, and problems themselves, often wont arise until you are engaged in the act. Some problems can’t be solved at all.

    Waiting for humanity to no longer be human is a fantasy and these people’s ignorance of their own humanity is the perfect example of why it will never happen.

    But! Is their suggestion made in good faith or are they just lying about their true intentions? Here we all are making fun of them and saying their plans are doomed for failure. It could be that’s what they want and will just lie about it.

    What is a good way to combat this? Is it to criticize what they say or to attack their strategy? Both? I want to see more cutting through the BS.

    1. As I see it the only possibility of this approach having a chance is if you have a time machine. You can then extrapolate each decision point ahead in time to observe the outcome and then return to your own time to decide after evaluating across all decision points and all alternate future histories. But then there is the “horizon” effect to consider. And the small uncertainties that lead to large deviations. This is simply analysis paralysis writ large. Like time travel paradoxes themselves. It is meaningless and serves no purpose.

      1. (Spoiler alert)
        This is the plot of what is IMHO Asimov’s best novel, “The End of Eternity”. In the novel, time travel is developed, and the ruling class starts performing “Reality Changes” to get rid of conflict and other undesirable occurrences. But this leads to stagnation and ultimately the extinction of humanity, and ultimately the protagonist has to decide whether or not to overthrow the old order and set up a new one focused on expanding beyond Earth. A really good book, highly recommended – much better than Foundation…

        1. The “Time Elevator”. And the prohibited 30,000 (or was it 3000?) years of “floors” that are inaccessible because of this.

          And time pods that got you back into the “basement past” before floor/year 1.

          Yes a very good read. I should have attributed Asimov as I did read that novel many “floors” ago… Correcting history vs predicting it via psycho-history were both his ideas. 🙂

          1. “Now I got a time machine at home. It only goes foreword at regular speed. It’s essentially a cardboard box and on the outside I wrote time machine in sharpie.”

            – Demetri Martin

          2. Oh I do that one much better. I have two at my house.
            They are both made out of cast plastic resin with metal fixtures at top and bottom. There is a curtain you draw across the hatchway, and two knobs you adjust for controlling the entropy of the liquid transfer medium.

            It only takes you into the future. Ten minutes in either of these contraptions will send you easily an hour into the future. About the time you’re done humming The Liberty Bell march….

Comments are closed.