Well, I think I have just about heard of everything now. I happened to be reading when a notice popped up about an update on the 10,000 year clock that is being financed by Jeff Bezos, the Founder of Amazon. As you may know, he recently launched the most expensive and grandest private yacht ever made – a sailing ship – named Koru, which means “new beginnings.” The ship apparently cost somewhere in the vicinity of $500 million, is 417′ long and has another yacht that accompanies it with provisions and other necessities – it was built at a cost of more than $75 million.
Of course, if you were worth well in excess of $100 billion, I guess this is a relative drop in the bucket. So I guess that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bezos has dropped $42 million on a clock that is being designed to run for 10,000 years. It is housed in a mountain somewhere in Texas and was the brainchild of Danny Hillis who says that the purpose of the clock is to be a symbol, or icon, of long term thinking.
However, others who are in the know, believe that Bezos is building the clock as something of a monument – a legacy, if you will, that will withstand the test of time and provide some ongoing reminder of his existence on earth. He is also deeply involved in space and has launched a number or rockets in competition with Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic fame.
The point is that the average person can’t even begin to fathom the kind of money that it takes to undertake any of these ventures. But when you put legacy on the table, these things take on an entirely different look. It’s no longer about helping people or investing in medicine or healthcare sciences – it becomes more about personal entitlement and self aggrandizement.
Apparently, the clock will only tick once per year, the century hand moves once every 100 years and the clock cuckoo comes out on the millennium. The clock is being housed in Texas and includes a series of five rooms excavated inside a mountain. The anniversary chambers represent successive milestones in the life of the clock – 1 year, 10 year, 100, year, 1000 year and finally, the 10,000 year mark. The first room is being fitted with reminders of the science that is current. It will house examples of the probes that have been launched and also include a nod to the planet and Earth’s moon.
Although nothing has been decided on for the 10 year anniversary celebration, ideas are being accepted for inclusion into the plans. However, ideas for the 100, 1000 and 10,000 year chambers are being left for future generations.
There will be instructions for future generations to connect to the current workings of the clock and a series of unique problems has presented a challenge to the construction of the clock. For example, what kind of parts will last 10,000 years? We don’t yet have the technology to achieve that lofty goal. And how will future generations connect future parts of the clock to what has started to be constructed?
It seems that the preliminary work has been pretty much completed and a scale model constructed, but parts are now in the early stage of construction for the actual clock. It seems that the clock also has a chime generator that will create a different bell ringing sequence at solar noon each day for 10,000 years.
Clearly, we are talking about quite an achievement, but to what end? We won’t be around to see it and the builders aren’t really looking any farther ahead than 10 years as I understand it. I would think that the time spent on this project would be much better spent advancing the kingdom of God. To say nothing of what the money could be used for in promoting worldwide health.
I couldn’t help but think about Bible verses for tonight. The psalmist in Psalm 84:10 tells us his thoughts by saying, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere…” It seems to me that there is a parallel here. Being in sync with God for even one day is better than living outside His presence for 1000 days – or 1000 years – or even 10,000 years!
As a nation, we need to get our priorities straight. Rather than building clocks and creating legacies, I think we would be much better served focusing on God and what we can do to advance His kingdom. After all, time is meaningless in eternity and my encouragement this evening is that God wants to spend eternity with us. My prayer is that we will re-dedicate our efforts to improve this world and not worry about some clock that will, perhaps, mark the time for the next 10,000 years. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…