Our economic and political institutions press us to take the short view. So does our culture: our calendars go out only one year. Would our psychology of time change if we adopted another measure?
As a thought experiment, imagine changing the basic unit from a year to millenium, which we could abbreviate as an M (pronounced “em”). Then we’d have the following system of units:
1 kiloM is a million years.
1 M is a thousand years.
1 deci-M is a century.
1 centi-M is a decade.
1 milli-M is a year.
1 micro-M is about 7 hours.
2100 is less than .09 M from now. It’ll be here before you know it!