I've never been more aware of the shifting cycle of the moon than I was over this past month.
Something about the vulnerability of the 'white flag' update I sent out on the last full moon made me hyper aware of each phase of this primordial "clock". The calming cycle helped me pace myself because I knew tonight's full moon would arrive in time, just has it always has, for eternity.
The moon is a predictable rhythm in an unpredictable bittersweet symphony of life.
Since I last reached out it has come to my attention that the oldest known example of physical "writing" is a tool that maps the cycles of the moon. This fascinating design was carved by someone, into this bone, over thirty-two thousand years ago.
Would the person who etched the phases of the moon in bone, be able to detect any change in our "modern" moon? How much has the moon changed, if at all, in thirty-two thousand years?
We know the moon moves away from Earth at roughly the distance of 1" (2.54cm) per year.
To see how much or how little the moon has changed in thirty-two thousand years, let's have some thoroughly unscientific fun. Remember, each year the moon gets 1" farther away from Earth so let's replace thirty-two thousand years with thirty-two thousand inches.
So, since this person carved their moon map thirty-two thousand years ago, our moon has drifted two thousand six hundred and sixty-six feet away from Earth.
Well, the Empire State Building is 1250 ft high.
Stack two of them together,
and you get the difference in distance between what we see now,
and what they saw then.
our moon is roughly 2,666 ft farther away from us now than it was 32,000 years ago.
The moon is roughly 240,000 miles away from Earth. (386,242 Km)
Now we can figure out the percentage of how much the moon has "changed" in 32,000 years.
240,000 miles x 5,280 = 1,267,200,000 ft (2,039,360,716 Km)
Our moon is only 0.0002% different, "smaller" in thirty-two thousand years!
I mean, sure, you can say it's "changed" technically but come on, not in any way anyone would notice.
0.0002% of difference since someone that looked like you and me carved this:
and painted these:
and made this:
A moon which hasn't changed in any discernible way full stop in thirty-two thousand years. I've walked through this idea to make the following point; if the time tool maker from thirty-two thousand years ago were here today and we showed them this:
I want to believe they might actually understand it.
Because if that is true, if we were able to compare our time telling tools, we could collapse thirty-two thousand years of human history into the present. We could look each other in the eye and bind our hearts and minds together in understanding something ancient, something forever mysterious, something deeply human.
The phases of the moon are a fundamental element of the human experience and clearly have not "changed" in any detectable way whatsoever since those carvings were made thirty-two thousand years ago. I believe this is an inspired example of how life is a continuum and eternity is accessible.Eternity isn't some far away place, it is here, it is now and it is knowable .
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SHIP THE CLOCKS I BOUGHT IN THE YEAR 2020?
Four thousand boxes arrive at the end of the month. That's one box to put the clocks in and another box to place the clock for safer shipping. It's all happening. There is a crazy story about the prints you can read about at the end of this post if you wish.*
I've never been more hyped about it than I am now and I can finally see the:
For now, if I may, Id like to tie up this thread on eternity.
What use is it to know that the moon has not changed in any perceivable way for anyone in the past thirty-two thousand years? Well, I think it opens the door to grasping our location in time as it relates both to the past thirty-two thousand years and reflexively, to the next thirty-two thousand years.
Now you know, thirty-two thousand years from now, the moon will only "shrink" in size by 0.00002%. That's amazing! It means we really are in this altogether now and practically speaking, forever.
Am I getting through to you? It means so little has changed, and so little will change as it relates to the moon in your lifetime; this cycle can become a reliable gauge of eternity for a human life. Think of the certainty of the moon as a helpful "unchangeable" heads up display for holism. You can trust it.
I hope this thought experiment and eventually these works of art help you get in touch with your own grasp on eternity. I believe the more we can befriend eternity, the more we can transform it from some sort of limitless extreme to something more comprehensible, the more thoroughly human we become.
At the turn of the century, I imagined 'limitlessness' as being one of the central themes I sensed would be necessary to humanize as an artist. Since then I feel as if I've gotten closer to making sense of it. The tools I've created, with your help, have not only made it more possible, they're making eternity easy.
Naturally, these "timepieces" contain a healthy dose of optimism. They are signposts to the cycles of life on planet Earth in all of its dazzling beauty and potential. Yet we all know too well the world is caught in such a horrific holding pattern. It's not my place to bring them up in detail here but I must admit it can seem as if the problems we have now are altogether insurmountable at this point in time.
[ IMAGINE: COLLAGE OF SEEMINGLY INTRACTABLE PROBLEMS ]
It is an act of defiant optimism to perceive that as long as we limit our conscious awareness of time to a singular, short term method of measuring it, we will eternally fail to produce the long term solutions we so desperately desire.
What if it really is that simple?
Our short term point of view on time primarily serves industrialization while starving us from the abundance of solutions waiting to be plucked from the longer term horizons of time perception. The Present is one way of offering our lopsided point of view on time a fulcrum for balance. In its most simple terms, The Present is a way to give time space.
Now you don't have to subscribe to my philosophy here to enjoy these timepieces. Time is subjective and many people have many different reasons for enjoying these artifacts. All of the limitless interpretations you might have about them yourself are welcome.
I was born on the autumn equinox of 1979. As long as I live, I will continue to believe we will make it out of the long term effects of short term thinking and into a future that makes more holistic, practical sense. Whatever it is, whatever needs to heal, whatever must change, I believe it can and it will, it's only a matter of time.
Human events entail too many variables, too many uncertainties to make scientific statements about our future. But we can still dream and as long as we can still dream we can say that the next golden age of human achievement begins here and now.
the last combustion engine will placed in the Smithsonian as a relic from the dark age of energy.
half of the world's timepieces will be some version of the natural cycles portrayed in The Present.
due to a total lack of carbon pollution, an abundance of healing methods and technological breakthroughs, the effects of climate change begin to reverse and diminish; snow falls again in NYC after decades of insufferable heat.
people will stop dying from the effects of poverty, no one will go hungry ever again as the planet becomes a self sustaining, intercommunicating organism.
the polar ice caps are restored to the way they were in the 19th century and the forecast is mild and temperate for the next 40,000 years.
undreamt of in our time, will we have accomplished in another generation?
How far will our nomadic species have wandered by the end of the 24th century?
And the next millennium?
Our remote descendants safely arrayed on many worlds throughout the solar system and beyond will be unified by their common heritage. By their regard for their home planet and by the knowledge that whatever other life there may be, the only humans in all of the universe, came from Earth. No matter how far we go, as long as we have The Present we will be able to commune with time back home.
our future selves will gaze up and strain to find the blue dot in their skies. They will marvel at how vulnerable the repository of all of our potential once was. How perilous our infancy. How humble our beginnings. How many rivers we had to cross, before we found our way.
So much has changed since my last update, both in the world and in the business of The Present LLC. I will go into more detail on the next full moon but I want you to know not to worry about me or the future of The Present. Something truly special happened today that never would have happened if I did not reach out for help. I'll be sharing some thrilling news with you on the next full moon about the near and long term future of The Present. Until then, thank you for listening to me and for your legendary patience with The Present.
*So here is that crazy story about the prints. The prints are not printed on paper, they are reverse printed on a wildly expensive film made in the USA by a company named Tekra. The prints are printed on the world's most sophisticated printers by one of the most reputable printers in North America, Duggal.
This is not a joke, I wish it was but they LOST the film...? It sounded like the dog ate my homework when they first told me. We have reordered a few rolls this time around and they will be immediately turned into prints. The thing is, I am beholden to them, no one else can make these prints, believe me, I've tried.
My friends, there are so many things I'm doing to make these clocks better, last longer and stay on the wall as safely as possible but really, they are just too complicated to talk about here in detail.
The hands for The Present Moon are custom made with an alloy of resin and fiberglass. The resin was meant to be a specific grey but it does not match the final print well enough. What do I mean? I mean the simultaneous contrast effect is lackluster unless you have the exact grey portrayed in the middle of the print. I cannot powder coat these hands because powder coating requires heat to set the powder and that will melt the resin. I cannot hand paint them because you will see the brush strokes. So I found the exact paint color ( check out the name!) and learned how to airbrush to solve the problem.
I know, I know, I know it seems like a subtle difference and it is but we are working in the realm of subtle shadow-play here. I can assure you if it was not worth it to paint all 1,000 hands, if the effect wasn't so special, I would not have gone through the trouble. I'm glad I did though because the effect looks fantastic and finished all of them last night!
Yeah, I have to be honest, I let myself get upset about them losing the entire roll of specialized film. It took us ages to score it. I didn't get mad, I just called my back up printer (always have a back-up) and gave them a shot at The Present Year. I know my back-up is incapable of printing the Moon or Day graphic because they don't have the most expensive printer systems on the planet. I've tried to get Day and Moon made there but they gave up because those prints are impossible.
I have been happy with their work on The Present Year in the past and have used them in a pinch.
So I sent them the new file right away and today I picked up the samples.
Duggal is the best printer in North America for a reason.
It's highly likely you cannot see the difference in this photo but I just want you to know that I tried and I hoped they would come through but they can't.
The one on the left is the back-up printer and the right one is Duggal.
Again, hard to see here but the Duggal print is so smooth and creamy because they run the machine as slow as possible and it's going to knock your socks off, if they would just print them already!
You will have your rewards sooner rather than later at this stage. Hang in there, soon this will all be distant memory.
Started this update yesterday at four pm, posting now at three am.
Thankful for your help.
Grateful to be alive.
NOTE: Starting with "Human events..."" and ending with, "...before we found our way." - I lifted (and embellished) some of the future dreaming section text from the outstanding Cosmos series hosted by NGT. I've also recently been inspired by "The Dawn of Everything" and love how it's reorganizing my perception of the past.
Excerpt from Shelly's Adonais (1821)
The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity
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