Key points – How to connect with your future self
- People often fail to look out for their future selves. Many of us make choices – related to money, health or other aspects of our lives – that feel good in the present but cost us later.
- We may think of our future selves as more like strangers. In some ways, you might perceive your future self as a different person, not an extension of you. Feeling more connected to that self could help you make more forward-thinking choices.
- Focus on what will stay the same. Reflecting on the ‘you’ that lives five, 10 or 20 years into the future, consider which of your traits and values you believe will remain a core part of you.
- Write a letter to your future self. Engaging in a ‘conversation’ with yourself – and perhaps imagining what you will look like in the future – could help you feel more connected to that self.
- Redraw, or erase, the boundary line between the present and the future. The sense of ‘the present’, as compared with ‘the future’, is subjective. Rethinking what these concepts mean to you could place you psychologically closer to your future self.
- Think of your future self as a close loved one. You can’t yet know your future self fully, just like you can’t completely know the people closest to you. But, in both cases, you can still commit yourself to supporting their wellbeing.
- The philosopher Derek Parfit challenged ideas about the nature of the self using thought experiments that resemble science fiction plots. For example, if you entered a ‘teletransporter’ that destroyed your body but recreated you on the planet Mars, would the person living on Mars be the same as the person who walked into the teletransporter? What if the device didn’t destroy you, but simply made a replica of you on Mars – is that person the same? At what point might they become different?
- In his book "Parfit (Derek) - Reasons and Persons" (1984), Parfit argues that our ‘self’ is made up of a bundle of psychological properties that constitute beliefs, interests, intentions and more. Our personal identities, or bodies, don’t really matter; what’s more important is the psychological continuity and connectedness between your various selves that exist over time. Your Earth self and your Mars self are connected as the same ‘selves’ as long as they maintain their psychological continuity.
- Shayla Love is a staff writer at Psyche. Her science journalism has appeared in Vice, The New York Times and Wired, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
- This paper is really a guide for wasters to think about the future and plan for it.
- It assumes without question that personal identity is defined according to the Psychological View.
- This is seen as explaining (and justifying) a lesser concern for our future Selves than for our present selves; but because too much of this can land our future selves in a pickle we should moderate this bias towards the near at hand.
- This whole idea seems to ignore what seems to me to be an obvious fact - that we are held captive by our bodies and it'll be us that experiences good or ill in the future irrespective of how our personalities have changed. As Baker would say - we retain the same FPP.
- That said, there needs to be a discount factor of some sort applied: we might not live to be 100, whereas we're quite likely to live until (say) 50. So, we shouldn't sacrifice everything today for our very remote future self.
- Also, our future self might not be able to enjoy (or suffer) as much as our present self on account of mental deterioration.
- Where personality changes are important is that we cannot guarantee that our future self will have the same interests. So, sacrificing present pleasures for specific future ones - which we then might not enjoy - would not be wise.
- However, we know that certain things will never change - we will still require the basic necessities of life however our interests have changed. So, we need to prepare for that, subject to the discounting caveats mentioned above.
- Otherwise … there was a mention of the ‘Specious Present’. I need to follow this up again under the topic of Time. See Wikipedia: Specious Present.
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