Tue, 25 Aug 2015
The Future Self

Anatoly Karlin writes about starting blogging again and about dealing with motivation and productivity. Regarding procrastination, something we all do sometimes but can become a big problem for some of us, he has an interesting comment :

When you are procrastinating, you are essentially trusting your future self to do the work that your present self does not want to. But if you make a habit of procrastination, of being unreliable, would it then be rational of your present self to depend on your (presumably equally fallible and unreliable) future self to do that what your present self is too lazy and slothful to do today? It’s grossly irrational and irresponsible!

In Why We Procrastinate, Alisa Opar posits that procrastination is something that we do because we do not consider our future self as being the same person we are. The background to this is the British philosopher Derek Parfit's view of a person's identity as something that changes as they move through time. We are not the same person in 10 years time as we are today: we see our future selves as strangers.

This idea of people becoming different people as they age, and their changing identity, is something that the writer and philosopher John Gray has brought up in his writing. Gray's an interesting writer but I had to pause my reading for a while to recover a bit of optimism about the human condition.