English can be a confusing language to master, or even to use effectively.
However, it can also be as very flexible language, as the subject line for this blog suggests.
Typically a verb is modified by an adverb and not by an adjective. But I have combined a verb with an adjective.
Like the famous Apple advertising campaign, Think Different, this is not a grammatical mistake, but rather an intentional infringement of the normal protocols of English use.
We are used to “poetic license” when a creative wordsmith bends and distorts the accepted conventions to push the envelope, cross boundaries and explore new meanings.
In this case, “think long” is not a badly constructed exhortation to think more slowly or even to think more deeply.
The unfamiliar syntax seeks to capture the attention of the reader, and in that moment when curiosity is aroused, to plant the idea of thinking over the long term rather than the short term.
As the Dean of a Cathedral at Grafton in Australia, I am familiar with the idea of “Cathedral thinking.” Cathedrals take a long time to build, they tend to stay in use for a long time, and they expect to be around for many more generations into the future. That expectations shares what decisions are made and also how they are made.
To some extent a Cathedral invites us to think beyond the time frames of electoral cycles, public institutions, and individual lives. Cathedral thinking is not just for church leaders, it is an attribute to be encouraged in many other areas of life. It encourages an investment in the future.
Or to put it differently, engage in decision-making and planning which takes into account the impacts of our choices to the seventh generation; our grand children’s grand children.
Thinking long is good for the planet and good for the soul.