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Home » Short-Termism Is Killing Us: It’s Time For Longpath – Ari Wallach (Transcript)

Short-Termism Is Killing Us: It’s Time For Longpath – Ari Wallach (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript and summary of futurist Ari Wallach’s talk titled “Short-Termism Is Killing Us: It’s Time For Longpath” at TEDxMidAtlantic conference. In this TEDx talk, Ari Wallach addresses the pervasive issue of short-term thinking in modern society and proposes a new approach, “Longpath,” to counteract this mindset.

Listen to the audio version here:


October 16, 1993, 1:17 a.m. The phone rang at my parents’ home. I answered on the second ring. I pretty much knew who was calling. The voice on the other end spoke for maybe 10 seconds. My reply was even shorter. “Do not resuscitate.” I was 18 years old when I lost my father.

Several years later, I was reading the book by Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death.” He won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1972. And I’ll paraphrase an entire book in three sentences. Man is the only sentient species who, at a very early point in his life, knows that he will cease to exist. And that he does everything he can to run, shield, and hide himself from that inevitable truth.

And so, now you know how I became a futurist. That was my running. So I’ve been “futuring,” which is a term I made up about three seconds ago. I’ve been futuring for about 20 years. And when I first started, I would sit down with people and say, “Hey, let’s talk 10, 20 years out.” And they’d say, “Great.”

And I’ve been seeing that time horizon get shorter and shorter and shorter, so much so that I met with a CEO two months ago and we started our initial conversation. He goes, “I love what you do. I want to talk about the next six months.” We have a lot of problems that we are facing. These are civilizational-scale problems. The issue though is, we can’t solve them using the mental models that we use right now to try and solve these problems.

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