Build It Forward

I’ve thought up a concept called Building Forwards where you create equity for people in the future. It comes down to using time as a bank.

The perspective of time makes all the difference with how we live our lives. I had an interview with the execs at Lightolier lighting company here in Manhattan this morning and they were telling me how the government put out mandates over 15 years ago that they wanted LED to become a dominant player in lighting. Only now is that becoming a reality. For some LED is a new phenomenon. For others it is a 20 year project. It is all about perspective.

And here is an astounding perspective on time: every single highway in the entire world is less than a hundred years old. That is a astronomically small drop in the bucket of time but it has changed the world tremendously. That is a great example of Building Backwards because it is going to take future generations a lot of time and money to undo that (yes they need to be undone).

I’m renovating the Green Show House in Brooklyn that was built a hundred years ago and I’m building it so it won’t need another renovation for another hundred years.

For me as a green builder and contractor it is IMPERATIVE that I build not for this generation but for the generations at least a hundred years from now. It is called Build it Forward (I just invented that phrase!). If we all did this the cost of EVERYTHING would be greatly reduced over time. Not necessarily our living time because we are paying dearly for the stupidity of our past.

But the concept of Building Forward is in my eyes the only way we can achieve that utopia of forever bathing by the pool that the past 50 years of technological improvements promised but never delivered on. We were barking up the wrong tree. The trick isn’t to make things more efficient. The trick is to make things more durable (at least that is one of the tricks). Each time we build something that will outlive us we are creating a nest egg for our children.

The past fifty years of course had a lot of great things. One of them was the amazing efficiency we achieved in almost everything. But there is one issue with this. Making things more efficient has proven to speed things up. Nothing more.

A more efficient razor means you can shave quicker. Period. It has increasingly shown that it doesn’t change much in your life beyond that. If anything it is simply puts pressure on the rest of your life to speed up, until you are running frantically trying to keep up.

For example we now know that adding another freeway lane to a congested freeway does not solve the problem. In a couple years that lane will be congested as well. What does work is SLOWING IT DOWN! by adding other paradigms like public transport and bike lanes.

So yes we have to deal with the present problems and tackle them but I’m not concerned weather I see the results of the big improvements. I’m just focused on making those dayly deposits into the bank of time so that my children and their children can live off it’s interest. The irony is that with this attitude I get great joy in the small results. Time is funny that way.

Here is another way of saying it:

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