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Why We Procrastinate - Issue 9: Time - Nautilus

Stashed in: Time, Decisions, Awesome, Philosophy, Ethics, Books!, Psychology!, Becoming, Morals, Procrastination, Brilliant Insight, Psychology

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Don't be tricked by the title of the article. It's way better than that!

"Parfit’s view was controversial even among philosophers. But psychologists are beginning to understand that it may accurately describe our attitudes towards our own decision-making: It turns out that we see our future selves as strangers. Though we will inevitably share their fates, the people we will become in a decade, quarter century, or more, are unknown to us. This impedes our ability to make good choices on their—which of course is our own—behalf. That bright, shiny New Year’s resolution? If you feel perfectly justified in breaking it, it may be because it feels like it was a promise someone else made."

If we see our future selves as strangers, how can we hope to reconcile that?

I can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good “I” who is going to improve the bad “me.” “I,” who has the best intentions, will go to work on wayward “me,” and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently “I” will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make “me” behave so badly.

We are feedback loops:

We become the stories we tell ourselves.

Very interesting.  I also looked up Derek Parfit's book: Reasons and Persons, it's a lengthy 560 pages, but all reviews say it is a must read, I'm going to try to get around to it ;)  Here is a review of the book from Amazon:

"When I first read this book on a trip across Europe, I was blown away: I remember thinking again and again "How can something this blow-the-roof-off important be published so late in the game?" Parfit shows how some of our most common-sensical beliefs about self-interest, ethics, personal identity, and (perhaps most interestingly) our obligations to future generations are beset with surprising and thorny problems, or even flatly self-contradictory or incoherent. He's also the master of the subtle-but-important distinction. Probably several longish books could be spun out from all the original material in Reasons and Persons-- certainly many journal articles already have been! However: while Parfit's style is very clear, and he doesn't refer as extensively as some philosophers to the work of previous authors, I probably wouldn't want to tackle this bad boy without at least some training in philosophy. "

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