We have very little idea about just what situations we will find ourselves in. Our imagination is also influenced by films and Tv.
When we make these grand decisions, we use imagination three times- we imagine what we imagine to be our future selves in imagined alternative scenarios.
And none of these uses of imagination is particularly rational. Imagining our future selves is especially unreliable, as we systematically underestimate how much we will change in the future. And the scenarios we imagine ourselves in have very little to do with the actual situations we would find ourselves in.
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Aristotle talked about rationality as the distinguishing feature of humans compared to other animals. However, the author argues that humans are more irrational than any other animals.
Imagination plays a crucial role in making most of our important decisions. Which college to choose? Go to grad school or not? Which job offer to take? And so on. You made all of these decisions by imagining yourself in one of the two situations and then imagining yourself in the other and then comparing the two.
"Because I am nothing, I can imagine myself to be anything. If I were somebody, I wouldn’t be able to. An assistant book-keeper can imagine himself to be a Roman emperor; the King of England can’t do that, because the King of England has lost the ability in his dreams to be any other king than the one he is. His reality limits what he can feel."
People tend to conform to behaviors that are common among other people, even when they know that those people did not make their choices freely, and when the decision does not mirror their own desires.
“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.”
Thinking of your future self as if it is another person has serious implications: We might choose to procrastinate and let the "other" person deal with the future consequences or problems on today's choices.
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