Elise Boulding was a Norwegian-born, American Quaker sociologist who was a major contributor to creating the academic discipline of Peace and Conflict Studies.
Boulding devised the concept of the “200-year present” in which we all live. It’s an effective antidote to the North American settler tendency toward impatience and an obsession with the present.
The exercise is this:
Go back to your youngest age you can remember, and think of the oldest person who held you. What year was that person born in? Now think about the youngest member of your extended family whom you know personally. Assuming that person lives a robust life, until what decade could you expect them to live? Depending on your calculations, you probably have a number somewhere between 150 and 250 years.
You have been physically held and will potentially physically hold people whose lives span a far greater expanse of time than your own.
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