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PodcastPart Two: How To Stretch Time

Part Two: How To Stretch Time

NOTE: this episode contains discussion of death, which some people may find difficult. In Part Two, we journey back to the beginning of life on Earth, and forward into the far future. We learn from Brian Eno why he invented ambient music, and discover how coming to terms with our own death can transform the way we live. We deep dive into indigenous thinking, learn how to look at the world like a geologist, and find out that when thinking about the future, we might actually need to look below us.

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(air whooshing & clicking) (bright cheerful music) Headspace Studios. (ethereal music) Hi, it's great to see you back here again. Before we begin our journey into the awesomeness of time, I just wanted to give you a little heads-up that today, we're going to be talking about death and dying, I hope in an ultimately life-affirming way, but for some people, this might be a particularly challenging thing to think about. If this is you, it's absolutely fine to come and rejoin us next time. (ethereal music continues) (waves crashing) Okay, so I'm standing here and it's 100 years in the future. The year is 2121 and I'm joined by fellow Long Time thinker, Vincent Ialenti. Vincent, where are we right now and what are we looking at? Well, we're in Finland, specifically, the Island of Olkiluoto in the very west of Finland. And you can see a thickett of pine trees ahead and just beyond them, you see the beautiful Baltic Sea over there. Oh yeah, it's really pretty. But it's also really freezing. The wind is absolutely bitter. How cold is it? Looks like it's about a negative 10 degrees Celsius today. And where are we going now? Well, we're heading down a pavement ramp between these two walls of blasted rock, and we're seeing the entrance of a dark tunnel. You can see that it's dimly lit and these ceiling lights, they're disappearing off into the distance. What is going on? Where is this place? We're in this facility called Onkalo, the world's first underground repository built to dispose of used up nuclear fuel from Finland's commercial nuclear power plants. Right. Because nuclear waste takes so long to break down and it can be toxic to humans and the environment for millennia, it has to be hidden in a place where it won't resurface for an extremely long time, right? Yeah. And this is a colossal project. Planning for it began back in the 1980s, tunneling and excavation began in 2004, began taking in waste in the 2020s. And now in the year 2120, 6,500 tons of spent nuclear fuel from Finnish power plants has been placed down here, 400, 450 meters underground in Finland's dense granite bedrock. And this facility has been designed to last over 100,000 years. 100,000 years? I can't even begin to get my head around that. Yeah. Just to put that into perspective. The pyramids in Egypt, some of the oldest large-scale human made monuments, the oldest one of those is only 4,700 years old so this is an unprecedented endeavor in human history. What's your connection to this place? I'm actually an Anthropologist from the United States. My particular research interest lies in how different kinds of communities understand and relate to the passage of time, specifically the future. I decided I needed to go to Finland. I was there for about 32 months to search for techniques to help expand modern society's awareness of time. I recorded 120 interviews, mostly...


Duration63 min

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