Hillis's plan for the final clock, which he reserves the right to change, has it built inside a series of rooms carved into white limestone cliffs, 10,000 feet up the Snake Range's west side. A full day's walk from anything resembling a road will be required to reach what looks like a natural opening in the rock. Continuing inside, the cavern will become more and more obviously human made. Closest to vast natural time cycles, the clock's slowest parts, such as the zodiacal precession wheel that turns once every 260 centuries, will come into view first. Such parts will appear stock-still, and it will require a heroic mental exertion to imagine their movement. Each succeeding room will reveal a faster moving and more intricate part of the mechanism and/or display, until, at the end, the visitor comprehends, or is nudged a bit closer to comprehending, the whole vast, complex, slow/fast, cosmic/human, inexorable, mysterious, terrible, joyous sweep of time and feels kinship with all who live, or will live, in its embrace.
Or so Hillis hopes.
Some people will no doubt make a pilgrimage to the cavern, but for the next century at least, that will probably require some commitment, as the site is "as far as you can get from civilization within the continental United States," Hillis says. "That will help people forget about it and avoid the contempt of familiarity."
Most people, however, will never visit the clock, just as most people never visit the Eiffel Tower. They will only know that it exists. That knowledge alone will acquaint them with the Long Now, and that is part of the plan.
There seems something incredibly noble about the whole project. I love it. And it can't hurt to put things in perspective for us too, as the author notes:
Most humans are preoccupied with the here and now. Albert Einstein, echoing the sentiments of other deep thinkers of the modern era, argued that one of the biggest challenges facing humanity is to "widen our circle of compassion" across both space and time. Everything from ethnic discrimination to wars, such reasoning goes, would become impossible if our compassionate circles were wide enough...
Hillis, at first motivated by a vague desire to promote long-term thinking, has been transformed by his idea: "Now I think about people who will live 10,000 years from now as real people." His eyes take on a distant focus as he says this, as if he sees them massed on the horizon. "I had never thought that way before."