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We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment (nytimes.com)
303 points by rrherr on May 21, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 133 comments



Hits the nail on the head. Our brains are back propagating, recursive neural networks that are consistently making predictions about the next input in the stream of input signals as it changes over time. When the prediction results are correct we save a fuzzy recording of the higher-order-pattern that resulted in our correct prediction. Each time our predictions are correct that "memory" is reinforced so we're able to make faster predictions, at earlier points in the pattern.

I hypothesize that the source of most anxiety or nervousness stems from our brains making no correct predictions in that moment. This is supported anecdotally by my patterns for overcoming social interactions that used to make me anxious that I've now become comfortable with. My brain now makes enough correct predictions that I don't feel the need to leave the situation.

I hypothesize that part of why I started acting on my transgender feelings was because I'd become so uncomfortable in my own body that my brain wasn't able to make accurate predictions about the sensations coming from my within. This is supported anecdotally by the following.

I started 2 activities when I accepted my desire to transition to female. Both were touted at reducing the feelings of un-comfortableness in my own body. Female to Male hormone therapy and taijiquan. Both produced lots of new feelings for my brain. Both gave me a sense of agency over my own body, the understanding that I have the ability to shape my body into what I want. In the end I stopped transitioning because taking the hormones(mostly the T blocker) isn't known to be healthy for the body(Liver/Kidneys). Taijiquan is almost unanimously a positive source of change in ones health for the rest of their lives therefore I choose taijiquan and a long healthy life over my desires to have female genitals. Practicing Taijiquan makes me feel better, and in regards to my gender dysphoria taijiquan has cured it; I am very comfortable with my male genitals now that I'm able to make enough consistent predictions during sex to remain engaged with the situation and remain turned on.

Edit Addition: I'd like to state that I still identify as a cross dresser and I'm comfortable saying that love certain parts/styles of womens fashion and accessories. Example, I love long flowing skirts. As a society I feel we should reassess men wearing skirts as it is much healthier for our genitals.


When the steam engine was invented, we thought of the brain as a series of pressures. When we discovered electricity, we thought of the brain as wires. When we got the internet, we thought of the brain as a network. Now sure neural networks have the word "neuron" in them, but they are far far away from the wetware that produced this conversation.


Tangential, but worth sharing for HN crowd, I think. Psychologist Jung and physicist Pauli worked very closely together to explore the unity of mind and matter. Some of their theories are, frankly, difficult to grasp and so intuitively unfathomable they're easy (for me) to just dismiss. But when you consider that Pauli could conceive the idea of the neutrino, impress Einstein with a critique of general relativity, etc., then maybe he's just onto something. The collection of letters referenced below is really wonderful.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/03/09/atom-and-archetype-...


Also clockworks, when they became sophisticated


> Our brains are back propagating, recursive neural networks (...)

Why so you say that? Or knowledge of the brain is still very very dim and rudimentary, and ANNs are simple mathematical models (inspired by brain neural networks, to be sure) to fit parameters to data. It's a bit naive, in my view, to assert such a simplistic answer to a very hard question without conclusive evidence for anything.


There's a saying in neurophysiology that predates neural nets: "Neurons that fire together, wire together". It's not exactly the same as back-propagation, but it's quite close.


In fact, it's the exact opposite of back propagation. Long/Short Term Potentiation is all about the synaptic buton of the firing cell, not the receiving cell (or that mess of the astrocytes).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-term_potentiation


> I hypothesize that the source of most anxiety or nervousness stems from our brains making no correct predictions in that moment.

Since fight/flight behaviour is regulated by the amygdala and basal ganglia, you can say:

Anxiety stems from our amygdalae getting started up, because they sense a threat where none is, and effecting inappropriate behaviour thereafter.

Actually, the threat is often correctly sensed, it's just the behaviour (running away, attacking, feigning death/freezing) that's not useful in the modern world.

The therapeutically interesting question is how to change that.

Compared to the rational parts, those emotional mechanisms are much deeper and better wired to the rest of the brain. At the same time they aren't very sophisticated. Some people refer to them as "reptilian complex".

We can't adjust emotions directly and in general we have to wait much more time (think: weeks, sometimes months) to let new ideas like not being afraid of something sink into the subconscious.

But knowing and accepting that makes it possible to grow.


> it's just the behaviour (running away, attacking, feigning death/freezing) that's not useful in the modern world. The therapeutically interesting question is how to change that.

Finding ways to channel your 'negative' energies into positive, constructive action is basically the foundation to every self-help book ever written.

I'd wager that the first, and often most difficult step is to identify a path that will lead to eventual success (eliminating the threat). Unfortunately, sometimes that's simply not possible.

Like, if you don't have a degree, have a family to support, and the factory you work at is closing down soon, your brain is going to 1) correctly identify a major threat and 2) try to spur you into action. But what if there's no clear path open that will avert the disaster?

I'd wager at least some of this is responsible for the rising rates of chronic illness, drug abuse, and suicide in many parts of the US.

Modern life often constantly exposes us to and reminds us about threats that we can personally do little about.


>Finding ways to channel your 'negative' energies into positive, constructive action is basically the foundation to every self-help book ever written.

That, soppy quotes and a desire for a quick buck.


Do you think if you had been born into a society where male and female roles weren't so binary, and you as a man were allowed to, for example, wear long flowing skirts and other "female" clothes, that you would have felt such a strong need to transition to female?

I sometimes think our culture's binary approach to gender creates a sense of imbalance and alienation for those people who do not fit into the binary. It saddens me that these people see no other choice but to loathe their sex, and make such drastic and medically questionable efforts to transition to the binary other.

I think there must be a way for people to learn to love how their bodies are, even if that sex does not necessarily match the cultural mandate of the "corresponding" gender. It's a hard fight, but it's a fairer fight to fight the culture, rather than one's own body.



That's actually pretty interesting. I'd say that I hit a lot of those checkmarks, but I've never had problems making friends and developing deeper relantionships. On the other hand, I've had incredible difficulties developing my software engineering career because of my difficulties is trusting my employer and co-workers. I'd say I struggle to build relationships in competitive environments.


I think that's quite a common experience - I tend to find that I develop small pockets of mutual trust (usually <5 people) in highly political and competitive companies. I think aggressively metricised environments are very hard to feel comfortable in because you don't feel like you have a stable footing.


I really hope we can break down the rules tying gendered expressions to sex. I can see the power in the archetypes, but assigning them at birth is really cruelty.

It's a shitty time. I don't know how old you are, but I really hope 30 years from now I meet you somewhere and we can look back and see that the world has moved on. I'm trying to keep a promise to myself that I'll keep trying.

Sometimes I think we're closer to that future than we think.


"It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea." Robert Anton Wilson

The quote exaggerates reality a little, but the point is that the world may move on but not necessarily in the direction you think, or it will follow your hopes only to suddenly go outside your comfort zone.


We're so close. ^_^ We need to make sure the internet and this magical way of archiving and sharing information can't be taken from away from us unless the whole civilization is crippled or destroyed.


Well, I don't share your fear because I think the whole of mandatory centralized civilization should and will be destroyed, and replaced with equivalent voluntary microcivilizations.

I also think anyone trying to control the flow of information is fighting a losing battle, so I don't lose sleep over that one either. Censoring the internet is already difficult and economically costly. Once we have Ethereum on a mesh network of $5 handheld computers, the difficulty goes up probably two orders of magnitude. And we're what, 10 years away from that?

I also think corporations are trying to lure you into thinking they control things, when in fact they don't have any real power any more, we (people with a little credit and a computer) have it all. We are just brainwashed into thinking we need them, so we're not exercising most of our power.

What if Comcast et al stopped offering you service entirely? Would you be lost? Would you be able to find the internet again?


That's actually a scary scenario. I'd be stuck relying on my neighbors for "pirate" wifi which would be unreliable unless I was able to run some QoS and setup their router. If that failed I'd be SoL because I don't know how use HAM radio and access the packet network. What other options or ideas am I missing? Excluding the cell carrier network.


There are a couple companies attempting to solve this,

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gotenna/gotenna-mesh-of...

and https://www.beartooth.com/


You'd need to rely on your friends, I guess.


I feel that Ethereum is not yet another coin, or maybe coins are not simply currencies from the beginning, but ethereum's site did not make that clear except mentioning "scripts". This seems to open a whole new perspective, but I fail to get it myself. Where can I read more on this?


I would start you off with this: Bitcoin is an autonomous software program. It waits for help, and relies on the help of humans, but it can't be pushed around. It either works or it waits.

What Bitcoin does, specifically, is maintain a ledger. That's all. Very useful, but quite limited. It tracks accounts, and which accounts transfer where. No more, no less.

That simplicity made it somewhat tractable to implement, in a world where no one had ever heard of an autonomous software application before. It was the "Hello World" of autonomous software.

Computer scientists were mostly blindsided by this. At least I was. But Bitcoin's success, even in its earliest forms, suggested that there would be a whole wealth of autonomous software coming. We were excited. A whole new way of thinking about software, where you don't write procedures, you write contracts.

It was easy enough to see that you could store arbitrary information in the Bitcoin ledger... a few kilobytes, maybe a GIF. But performance was awful. So an autonomous data hosting service was certainly on the menu, for whoever could figure out a set of contracts that would scale. But it also seemed like an autonomous application hosting service was also possible. And whoever built it would be holding the keys to another Bitcoin-style explosion of value.

Think of it like this: someone had invented autonomous Visa, the race was on to invent the autonomous Heroku.

MaidSafe was one attempt. Ethereum was another.

I don't have any reading materials for you. This is a brand new area of inquiry. Academia doesn't seem to have taken notice yet, and the AltCoin scene is just a bunch of finance people gathering around cargo cults.

I guess what I would suggest: read up on MaidSafe and Ethereum. The Ethereum blog is fascinating. Start at the beginning. Try to understand what's happening and then ask questions. Don't rely on other peoples' characterizations of these systems, try to understand how and why they work.

Or, if you want to trust someone, trust me: Ethereum is currently the best contender we have. Just learn how to make dapps and start looking for good business opportunities within that ecosystem.


What do you think about Tezos? To me, it seems to go a few steps beyond ETH, in addition to be safer and have none of the trust issues - although I only found out about it a few days ago, so I'm really interested what people with more relevant coin/altcoin/ETH background think.


Never heard of it til now. After a quick skim, seems like the basics are in place.

In a world of many competing, stable cryptoprotocols I suspect the biggest pieces of the pie go to communities that are good at fixing problems in incentive balance. It becomes a human challenge more than a technical one. Who are your stakeholders, what are the incentives underlying their supply chain, and is there a better v2 we can design?

If Tezos or any other community shows a culture of doing that I think it's a good investment. Maybe not 2013 Bitcoin good, but a solid growth investment.

Ethereum has the benefit of being first mover, so they will automatically attract some good incentive balancers. And Vitalik has proven he's pretty good at it, having g successfully launched and attracted cash.


Your first sentence reminds me of the bliss of music. Music is a subtle and sophisticated "plane" say, and predicting where you can walk while keeping some harmonic relationships and sensing it at the same time makes me think that it's a bit like aligning prediction, models and sensation into one.


For others who don't know: taijiquan is more usually called tai chi.


Isn't this called "Cognitive Dissonance" ?


I would say no. Cognitive Dissonance is more about someone saying they believe something but then their actions don't reflect that belief.

An area of Cognitive Dissonance that I have, I know that I need to take more consistent breaks from computer work more often to prevent pain from repetitive stress injuries, But I don't.


Your description is not quite right: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

Your example is not cognitive dissonance. To be that, not taking the breaks would have to go against a deeply held belief, and make you feel uncomfortable.


The term itself is concerned more with a person's own experience of the world. What you're describing, i. e. his actions/words as observable by others, is probably closer to 'hypocrisy'.

"Cognitive dissonance' is far less judgemental–its considered to be an essential mechanism of learning.


Akrasia is a good word for this concept.


aka "Practice what you preach?"


There're real neuroscience studies that could accompany the theories here. It's a shame none of them have come up in this discussion.


> Our brains are back propagating, recursive neural networks that are consistently making predictions about the next input in the stream of input signals as it changes over time.

Neural networks are a simplistic model of how our brain works, not the other way around.


Thanks for sharing your story. That's awesome. Tell us more about tajiquan? Is it like tai chi? How long have you been doing it and what were the major effects ?

While I can't imagine what you've been through I have spent a lot of time pondering over what it'd be like to be a woman.


>Hits the nail on the head. Our brains are back propagating, recursive neural networks that are consistently making predictions about the next input in the stream of input signals as it changes over time. When the prediction results are correct we save a fuzzy recording of the higher-order-pattern that resulted in our correct prediction. Each time our predictions are correct that "memory" is reinforced so we're able to make faster predictions, at earlier points in the pattern.

I'm not sure that I could ever be so confident in anything as you are to be stating so unequivocally how the brain works given the track record of previous attempts to model brain function and the current state of neuroscience.


When I get feelings for and idea I let my mind thoroughly explore its possibilities. The work of Jeff Hawkins has heavily influenced how I meditate and observe my brain leading to consistently better mental health management. While I say this with such certainty, I know it is a hypothesis that's unproven by studies. But it just feels satisfyingly right from my observations of myself and the world around me. My model of the world is always changing and I'm open to being disproved and accepting new ideas, and ultimately, reality as we understand it.


I'm personally very conscientious in avoiding forming models of the world around me by incorporating what my brain decides "feels satisfyingly right" based on my own anecdotal observations. Humans have been operating as you describe for thousands of years but it was only when some of us began replacing pure cognition, feelings, and intuitive satisfaction with systematic empiricism that we began to make significant headway in understanding the world.


I personally view the feeling of satisfyingly right as the touch point begin empirical analysis. Given the amount of effort required to conduct a study, I wouldn't personally put forth the effort for anything that didn't feel satisfying right, as I'm sure most of our famous scientists of the past guided there own interests and motivations. You shouldn't be afraid of feeling ways about ideas, you should be afraid of becoming attached to a hypothesis, but you could still use an unproven hypothesis to guide your own life.


I agree that the intuitive feelings can be a good starting point for better analysis, but I don't then incorporate those ideas into my model of the world without verifying them to a sufficient degree of rigor. If the subject is something like, "what food is in this unlabeled tin can" then sufficient rigor is opening the can and then I can reasonably assume that the rest of the identical unmarked cans in the box it came from are probably more of the same. If the subject is, "how does the human brain work" I'm going to require a hell of a lot more investigation and evidence before I can say that a theory that I've come up with is correct. Extremely intelligent people have been working on this problem for many decades and while we've learned some things we're not yet anywhere close to understanding how the brain works in even animals with much simpler brains. Because of this, I am very skeptical of any theory I as a laymen could come up with regardless of how much research I read from scientists working in the field, and I certainly wouldn't consider a "feeling of satisfyingly right" as being meaningful at all in my consideration of what model is correct and which is not correct.

I'm also not "afraid of feeling ways about ideas", I just don't built my models of the world based on feelings unless I'm building a model of my feelings.


We are also extremely good at convincing ourselves that things are "true". It is extremely easy for a smart enough person to rationalize almost any personal or "deeply held" belief.

On the other hand some things are within our purview to decide and act upon if we believe in them and they feel "right", no rationalizing or justification required. I am always suspicious if I find myself rationalizing a belief or feeling. But if I simply enjoy it or it seems "right".. I just stop thinking there. Mostly these are things that only impact oneself, and not others. I think when choices impact others more analysis is then required depending on the nature of the decision.

Models can be very risky to apply to why we think a certain way, because they are almost always wrong. Or they can be more right than wrong, but wrong in very impactful ways.


Just because it has been an evolutionary advantage for our mind to be constantly active, doesn't mean that this can't change.

That's the point of evolution: we adapt to what's necessary and, for millions of years, constant thought was the factor that made us smarter than everyone else, and the humans in whom this didn't occur weren't smart enough, thus their genes disappeared from the gene pool.

This, however, doesn't mean we can't keep evolving towards a state of consciousness where constant thought isn't required, it just means that -- as is always the case -- existence is challenging, because there's millions of years of inertia behind the mind. It has a strong pull, because it was needed for survival. But we can keep evolving.

It doesn't need to continue like this forever. It just means that, as opposed to earlier, the people in whom thought is too strong and uncontrollable are now the ones whose genes are removed from the gene pool, through mental illness and anxiety.

If you're willing to spend some time watching your mind, you'll realize that it already stops all the time, it's just a matter of noticing this, thus strengthening its absence. But don't expect there to be a button to push to make it stop. It was needed for survival, so its cessation has become associated with fear. But, while you are conscious of this fact, it's not a problem, just a challenge.


I do not think that we should focus on the present, nor do I think that we should focus on the past/future. However, I think even the original article was more convincing than this argument.

Yes, it certainly is conceivable that people will evolve to "live in the moment". But arguing that those who don't do so have mental illness and/or anxiety is a bit much. That's like saying people who "live in the moment" will be taken care of by natural selection because they won't learn from their mistakes and they won't see things coming until it's too late.

First of all, it's a strawman - just because you're focusing on the present in general doesn't mean you're unable to look at the past or future, and just because you're focusing on the past/future in general doesn't mean you're unable to enjoy the present as well. In other words, even if you're "living in the moment" overall, you can still recall mistakes and avoid repeating them, and you can still have foresight. And even if you reflect on the past or consider possibilities of the future, you can still be neurotypical.

Second, even if these things were all mutually exclusive, what evidence suggests that one of the group's genes will be removed from the gene pool? I know plenty of people who forget everything and also struggle thinking 1 step ahead in tic tac toe, and I don't see them struggling to keep their genes in circulation - they just have a different pool they choose from (other "near-sighted" people). Similarly, I have quite a few friends with anxiety, and they do just fine, because they date other friends of mine with anxiety.

> If you're willing to spend some time watching your mind, you'll realize that it already stops all the time, it's just a matter of noticing this, thus strengthening its absence

And if you're willing to spend some time watching your mind, you'll realize that it already starts back up all the time. It's just a matter of noticing that your mind is inclined towards thinking, and strengthening the presence of thoughts in your mind.

The previous paragraph was not meant as a serious argument. Again, I am not arguing that "living in the moment" is bad or that we should avoid it or anything like that. The point of it was just to demonstrate that the argument needs more to back it up.


>to "live in the moment". But arguing that those who don't do so have mental illness and/or anxiety is a bit much.

In school I had a headmaster who was all about the importance of living in the moment (and related, nice-sounding advice). Naive as I was I spent too much time trying to figure out what is wrong with me until I eventually decided such people need not criticize the minds of young adults with selling this kind of bullshit.

To each their own and measure one another by the value they create, and how they treat others, not by some worldview such as this which basically blurs the line between philosophy/religion and science.


First of all, it's a strawman - just because you're focusing on the present in general doesn't mean you're unable to look at the past or future, and just because you're focusing on the past/future in general doesn't mean you're unable to enjoy the present as well.

This is true of people who learn to live in the moment despite it not being automatic for them, and its when they do it in a social context that demands paying attention to the past and future. If a group of humans innately lived in the moment, they would be unlikely to learn to care about the past and future. An individual who was born with that innate tendency in a social setting that does care about the past and future might learn to care by absorbing the values through socialization. But the values have to come from somewhere, and they're less likely to be ignored of people care about them by their nature.


There's so much wrong with the post you're responding to. A lot of which you already highlighted.

I do want to mention two things first, though.

On the topic of evolution, evolution does not occur within an individual, IE: pokemon, which, I feel like, the OP was trying to suggest. Also, on the topic of evolution, who's to say that a quiet mind is ideal? There have been rational arguments that mental illness exists due to evolution.

On the topic of a totally silent mind. That doesn't exist. Brain scans show that even when people meditate and believe that their mind is completely inactive, that there is activity going on. It's commonly known in those circles that it's impossible to be completely blank, and it's even frowned upon to even attempt it; as, ironically, it has the opposite effect of creating more activity.


How are you so certain? It's easy to embrace non-thought, which essentially equates with belief in Cessation, or roughly, nihilism. You sound like you've found a happy medium between your conceptual understanding of the sensory input, and your conceptual understanding of consciousness. Your Vinn diagram looks like foamy bubbles, with shared surfaces but no overlap.

Maybe it's interesting to examine the possibility of permanent non-existence, but the really fundamental change in perspective occurs when we understand that maybe nothing matters, and then recognize that we are still subject to reality, and do our best to help.

If you really believe in the value of watching your mind, then you should do it full time.


Short term evolution over one's lifetime (getting better at swimming, getting better at coding, etc.) is a very different matter than a species evolution (changes so significant the next generations are a different specie).

The capacity to adapt to a new environment means different things in the context of day-to-day struggle or millions of years in a stable environment.

Homo sapiens sapiens is +/- 200 000 years old and has demonstrated an incredible adaptability but good luck evolving gills if oceans would rise 20 km in the next 25 years.

> It doesn't need to continue like this forever. It just means that, as opposed to earlier, the people in whom thought is too strong and uncontrollable are now the ones whose genes are removed from the gene pool, through mental illness and anxiety.

Mental illness and anxiety aren't necessarily genetic in nature and I am not quite sure there's such a thing as « genes being removed from the gene pool » in evolution (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/misconcep_0...).


>Short term evolution over one's lifetime (getting better at swimming, getting better at coding, etc.) is a very different matter than a species evolution

In the context you're referring to, 'short term evolution', isn't evolution at all. That's a misuse of the word evolution.


Evolution = Natural Selection. It's based on mutation of genes leading to a significant survival advantage over the existing species which in turn sees it's population go extinct like the neanderthals. First of all, meditation is a skill, not a genetic mutation. Second of all, there would need to be a massive disease or catalyst for it to even be possible for humans to evolve in a specific direction.


Well there is always the coming threat of gene-editing that almost surely will start being used by the world's wealthiest to secure a permanent advantage over the rest of humanity.


But we can keep evolving.

By what mechanism? Evolution doesn't come about by sheer will.


True. Motivation is only one component of our perceptual sets.

We also have to leverage our emotions, beliefs, and actions to align them with the motivation of evolving.

Edit: Anyone care to suggest a reason why this comment's being downvoted?


Evolution as a word has a specific definition and usage that you are misusing. You're being downvoted because in your comment, you seem to be implying that humans can through the "leveraging of emotions, beliefs, and actions" achieve evolution which is patently false, unless of course you're talking about some kind of 'cultural' evolution. But then you should specify that in your comment, because that isn't the context in which evolution is normally used.


My understanding of evolution is we can change the overall makeup of our species through our actions and choices, such as C-sections leading to women having narrower pelvises over time.

This suggests collectively changing how we use our brains would lead to a society in which people who don't use their brains the same way could be less likely to thrive. Thus, they'd be selected against evolutionarily.

What part of this conflicts with your understanding of evolution?


For evolution to happen naturally on genetic level, is a process that takes millions of years. It would take a concerted effort across thousands of generations of humans to see any meaningful change. The likelihood of this happening is nil to none. More realistic avenues of achieving something like what you talk about are likely through genetic engineering, nanotechnology integration, etc.


Epigenetics has shown how susceptible we are chemically and that those genetic changes are hereditary. We also know brain chemistry can be impacted by changes in how we use the brain. I suspect we'll be able to use these mechanisms to intentionally evolve faster.

How is it you're so very certain about how we work and the time scale evolution operates on when we're still discovering core mechanisms?

You may want to consider challenging some of these beliefs you hold because it sounds like they're limiting what you consider possible, which can only serve to limit your own behavior. A growth-oriented mindset is more helpful for learning and if we want to learn collectively, I think we'll need a lot more people with that kind of mindset.

If you don't believe it's possible to collectively organize to strategically change our thinking, will you be less inclined to orient your own toward the goal because "why bother?"

I believe there are simple, desirable ways to change how we use our brains and they're effective enough to get immediate benefits from them. That's enough for me to believe they're globally marketable, which is what it'll take to collectively organize.


Choosing the right actions is dependent on how you want to evolve. The right emotion is going to be joy. The only belief needed is that you can evolve in the way you want to. Also need to abandon beliefs to the contrary.


There is no way natural selection is going to make us more present, but technological enhancements or genetic engineering might.


'Living in the moment' is a metaphor. Thoughts about the future always take place in the present.


Exactly this!

I'd also point out that thoughts of the past always occur in the present as well.

And remembering something is not like replaying a movie, but every time you revisit a memory you change it a bit based on your current state.

Remembering is an active process.


Yes indeed, including in some cases changing the temporal order of events based on reason or new data. For example, I once misheard a drinking mug shatter on the floor before it slid off the kitchen surface.

But reason corrected the memory.

https://hilo.hawaii.edu/~ronald/310/310-Dennett-MultiDrafts....

I'd like to add that I think 'living in the moment' is powerful and useful despite not being literally true because it points to something real and important.


Well the term 'living in the moment' is just a western paraphrasing of the much more subtle and thorough explanation of mindfulness in the original suttas.


This is a decent article but I strongly dislike the title. The phrasing "we aren't built for" is so pessimistic, as if being mindful (living in the moment) is hopeless or unachievable, or even undesirable or harmful.

Thousands of years of meditation practices have proven that living in the moment is very possible. Yes our brains are constantly planning and scheming and trying to derail us, but this can be addressed with a modest amount of deliberate practice.

Perhaps imagining the future is emblematic of humans, and maybe that has developed over the last 2 million years, but animals have been around 300 million years, and they are (presumably) quite adept at living in the moment. We can be as well. Striving towards that goal is very beneficial and rewarding.

One entry point to meditation is Sam Harris's book Waking Up which I describe here: http://www.kmeme.com/2016/07/waking-up.html


I almost didn't read the article because of the title. As a avid practitioner of mindfulness meditation, I was turned off, "That's horseshit, being in the moment is what makes me happy and keeps me safe!" But after reading the article this just reinforces why meditation is so good at resolving anxiety and depression. Our brains AREN'T good at living in the moment, they are good at making predictions. Mediation is the process by which we LET GO and try to only OBSERVE the wild prediction process going on in our heads. Understanding this makes the article only reinforce the notion that meditation is so healthy for us as it teaches us to step away from our predictions before they spiral into depression or general anxiety disorder.


Once about half a month into a retreat, I was staring at blank space in a hut in the middle of the forrest, constantly distracted by fantasies of "a better blank space" - perhaps a nice cave with a walk in, or how I could make a little hut at home and go there every morning. It seems like once I had let go of everything, the mind even had a tendency to want to imagine better blank spaces. lol. The cases of people fantasising about better houses or cars are easy to see, but the fact that I saw it's possible the human mind can do this with blank space means it can do it with anything. :) It's just human nature. Denying things like this can create shadows and so on :)

Saying this though, it's watching the mind. We aren't built to live in the moment, but never the less, something can see this! Something watches all this going on in the mind! What is that? Mostly we make a 'home' in attention and identify as our attention. But whatever was seeing 'me' fantasising about nice little architectural meditation huts in the middle of the forrest, that was indistinguishable from objective reality.


That's a higher level of awareness. Often when someone says we need a paradigm shift in conscience this is what they are talking about. They've achieved this state, a higher level observational level of the world. The neocortex is hierarchical, the output of one level being fed as the input to the next higher level. Learning to consistantly station our awareness at the highest level in our brains is a result of meditation practices.

I hypothesize one of the most efficient paths to solving most of societies hardest problems would be to focus our education around mindfulness concepts about conscience. I feel the pairing of meditation and evidence based science used as a new institutional rock(our "mandatory" educational system needs replacing) will lead humanity into the next golden era.


Indeed. That ttle broadcasts the message that "I don't meditate and I have no clue what it's about."


What uniquely distinguishes our species, more than anything else, is our ability to tell stories. From hunting a mammoth to constructing an atomic device, everything depends on our ability to believe in a common story.


I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

We tell stories about ourselves and call it our identity. Often, we believe so strongly in our identities that we've killed for them or have been killed for them.

One person can have one identity where they're a failure, then through therapy, they change their story and become happier. Same events, different story.

There's also the cultural story: we descended from these people, we share an intellectual lineage with those people, these are the past events that are important, and this is what they reveal about us, etc.


Sounds like you may be interested in reading Professor Dan McAdams and the general field of narrative psychology.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative_psychology


Ever have a dream where you were in the past, like hunting or being chased or something? We pass on more than we recognize, I think. Hence consistent fear of heights and/or spiders.


A lot of interesting points made in this article, but the assertion that trauma plays only a minor role in depression, made in passing, raised an eyebrow. There's quite a bit of evidence that coming to terms with trauma, can be key for some. Trauma is of course related to imagining the future, and the therapies involved are aimed at resolving the haunting past so you can engage with the present and future unfettered, but it's not like you can tell someone with PTSD to just look to the future more positively.


I wasn't 'built' to type letters.


Well, we built the device you type them on to fit our body, not the other way around.


We did a poor job of "fitting" it to our body and I personally fear RSI pains every week due to how unfit our human-computer interfaces are. My dream is that room-scale VR will become a productive way to perform my job(designing, communicating and writing software) so that I'm up and moving around throughout the whole work day, arms and all, no long stretches of time in the same potentially tension producing position.


Ah, there goes present moment awareness mindfulness and all that ancient millennial rediscovered new age mumbo jumbo.

Hey Buddha you ain't all dat!

My homo prospection:

In their foundational paper,"The authors speculate that prospection ..." that will build up a novel cottage conference, paper, grant, VC money startup generating industry catering to the buzzy AI/ML secular humanism neurotechnopoly crowd starving for some paterno-religio-academic validation. [1]

Carrie Fisher echos, 'Damn, we need you more than ever Pope Francis, you are our only hope...'

I'd like to think computers are amazin' and my brain ain't one of em'

[1] https://www.prospectivepsych.org/sites/www.prospectivepsych....


This makes a lot of assumptions, like we know what really went on in the minds of our primitive ancestor's.

Meditation, yoga, and martial arts has taught me that being in the moment actually makes prospecting easier and better. Not to mention the stress/anxiety relief, being better connected socially, etc.

We've built up a lot of mental constructs over the millennia. These constructs are things like how we're taught to react/respond to various stimuli like emotions from ourselves and others. We're taught these by parents and society. And we constantly refine them for better or worse.

There is so much going in this hyperconnected society that being in the moment has become hard and/or harder to maintain.


Perhaps being in the moment allows are prospecting to consistently start from reality. Where if your lost in a maze of possible futures it's easy to keep going to different starting points and generating lots of trash timelines. Where if you are starting your imagination from this moment right now the tree is shorter and more grounded in reality.


"Homo prospectus is too pragmatic to obsess on death for the same reason that he doesn’t dwell on the past: There’s nothing he can do about it."

Lots of things weren't possible, until they were. Focusing on paths towards a goal beats focusing on paths towards failure. Not focusing on death =/= not focusing on living.

Healthspan is one of the easiest things to increase, and has hundreds of millions of people doing it whether they're aware of it or not, anyone that eats well or exercises is pro-longevity whether they realize it or not :) That could be considered anti-death behavior, without any need to focus on death at all.


On the principal author's site this is referred to as the "foundational paper": https://www.prospectivepsych.org/sites/www.prospectivepsych....


Huh, this sounds interesting. I wonder how often people were pinged during the day? Anyone want to go find the study?

> The central role of prospection has emerged in recent studies of both conscious and unconscious mental processes, like one in Chicago that pinged nearly 500 adults during the day to record their immediate thoughts and moods. If traditional psychological theory had been correct, these people would have spent a lot of time ruminating. But they actually thought about the future three times more often than the past, and even those few thoughts about a past event typically involved consideration of its future implications.

> When making plans, they reported higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress than at other times, presumably because planning turns a chaotic mass of concerns into an organized sequence. Although they sometimes feared what might go wrong, on average there were twice as many thoughts of what they hoped would happen.


You can do more than read the study, become a part of it: https://www.trackyourhappiness.org


I feel like this is something where I should probably read the whole Privacy Policy and possibly the ToS before using it at all.


The comments on this remind me of the somewhat-related koan (from the Jargon File?) about how an apprentice tried to randomize the weights on a neural network to "rid it of preconceptions", and the master responded by closing his eyes "so that the room would be empty".


Vaguely related: I've been experimenting with positive visualisation - you picture yourself in the future achieving something or other. I think it may help focus the brains pondering / neural pattern recognition on positive stuff rather than what junk's on TV etc.


I've always been extremely sceptical of the "positive thinking" school of thought. Not only were there quite a few studies showing no or negative effects, I just can't get over the mental image of some car salesman screaming "You can do it" at his mirror every morning.


I'm a little skeptical too although it seems to work for sports planning physical movements. The other stuff I'm not so sure.


"We are never living, but hoping to live; and whilst we are always preparing to be happy, it is certain, we never shall be so, if we aspire to no other happiness than what can be enjoyed in this life."


To think that our achievement was singular, is rather disappointing.


From the Longnow Foundation’s about page:

> Upon moving to New York City, Brian (Eno) found that “here” and “now” meant “this room” and “this five minutes” as opposed to the larger here and longer now that he was used to in England. We have since adopted the term as the title of our foundation as we try to stretch out what people consider as now.

http://longnow.org/about/


I do wonder where this fits in with meditation. Perhaps it's "clearing the cache," letting us re-explore options.


See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25904238

Saying "built to" is a pretty strong statement. Constructing narratives about the future is one thing the human mind can do, and is clearly advantageous. Focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all else is another.


Clearing the cache of possible timelines seems possible. Also filtering out input, what to focus on and what to ignore. Meditation also opens up new pathways of input from our senses, or guides us to existing pathways that we'd never noticed is a better way to express that. New input gives us new places to start predicting from.


Not according to Google [0]!

Given their pitch to advertisers, we are built exactly to live in "moments" - all conveniently full of advertising opportunities ;)

Depends on who you ask, I suppose. lol

[0] https://youtube.com/watch?v=cplXL-E1ioA


We're like a little scared squirrel that looks back and forth not having the capacity to understand and enjoy 'this' moment. I guess is because of how we perceive time and what we can do about it.


I might agree with the conclusion, but I mostly disagree with the rest

Humans making plans? Religion? That came as an afterthought and it's mostly forced through society (living the moment). Most people, most of the time will do what gives them pleasure right now instead of what might give them a reward later on. One just needs to look at obesity/lack of exercise/smoking, those are big problems.

The past is important, because all the predictions we do are based on past experiences even if there might be some random factor. Even artificial neural networks learn with time and what happened in the past is ingrained onto them.

Thinking about the future is certainly good but unless people fix their mistakes the outcome will be the same


We weren't built to pay taxes... but for some reason, someone thought it was a good idea and everyone else followed suit.


In fairness, we were "built to" live in social structures and dominance hierarchies. We were "built to" socially pool resources and act collectively. Taxes are just part of a really advanced system for doing that.

There are groups of people who don't do taxes at all, but you probably don't want to live among them.


Yes we were. Even the earliest hunter gatherers shared their bounty with the tribe.


To clarify with the people who feel that we were built to pay taxes: it is not to say that we shouldn't help others and even establish forms of law and government and pay our dues. The social contract affirms that we must do this and it isn't free. So we must be willing to pay something "into the system" to have this.

It is the fact that... how much in taxes do we have to pay until enough is enough? Our paychecks are taxed. Our toilet paper and food is taxed. Everything in life is taxed and even our deaths, at least our estates, are taxed.

We weren't born or built to do this. This is an enforcement upon us that we agreed upon and we continue to do in order to live in the "social contract". We continuously feed this unending hungry greed money machine and "this is the way it is."

Of course, there are people who "live off the grid" and found their way to pay nothing. There are also rich people who prefer to pay other people to find loopholes in order to avoid paying taxes too.


I feel like you may be underestimating the value of this social contract. The convenience of the rule of law and developed comfort only really become apparent once they are gone.


Yeah, the fella had a compelling line of argument.

And a spear.


That's why so many people train the ability.


we aren't built to juggle three balls either. but it can be learned and it's worth it.


You know how I can smell bullshit in this article? Right here:

>Some of our unconscious powers of prospection are shared by animals, but hardly any other creatures are capable of thinking more than a few minutes ahead.

That's simply not true. Evolution and historical knowledge are intertwined with our RNA/DNA more than we know.

Citation:

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/animal_eqs.php

We are completely built to live in the moment, if only we are wise enough to learn from the past. Learning when to trust the hairs on the back of the neck perking up for a sense of future danger is important. I've waited tables. I can tell within 15 seconds if you're generous or a cheapskate.

The article ends up basically trying to state, clumsily, that we don't live in the moment because we're seeking the meaning of life. You know, Flying Spaghetti Monsters. I guess I'm just surprised this article wasn't the result of a NYT All-Star-Idiot team up of Brooks & Friedman. This kind of smells like their brand of shitty intellectual posturing.


I bet dolphins have the same ability or maybe even something different, even more strange.

Perhaps you're the type of person that's in a meditative state all day, living in the moment. Perhaps you were just so good at predicting that you developed the habit of living in the moment instead of in your imagination because you understood how futile it was to entertain such non-sense.

We do have mechanisms in our brains that live in the moment all the time. Our brain is a conglomerate of brains we've inherited through evolution. The ancient parts of our brains can hijack our neocortex at the sign of danger or discomfort(adrenaline rush), sexual arousal, empathy, etc.

Everyone has different experiences and different levels of understanding of there lives. From my experience many of my acquaintances suffer from not living in the moment. They are off entertaining from fantasy or problem and might endanger someone with their body(bumping or walking into someone). Or the worst case someone absorbed with anxiety or depression about what's going to happen next in their lives and a feeling they have no control over the outcome.

I'd say most of my knowledge about our brains comes from the machine intelligence research of Jeff Hawkins. His research of the neocortex I'd say supports this prediction heavy model of our brains.


>The article ends up basically trying to state, clumsily, that we don't live in the moment because we're seeking the meaning of life

It seems to me it states pretty much the opposite, saying we spend >99% of thinking about more practical stuff.


> Some of our unconscious powers of prospection are shared by animals, but hardly any other creatures are capable of thinking more than a few minutes ahead.

>> That's simply not true. Evolution and historical knowledge are intertwined with our RNA/DNA more than we know.

These are two very different kinds of informational processes:

- the one done by evolution, using genes and other non-conscious supra-individual "devices": (1) does not produce information that can be shared horizontally (unless you're a bacterium) through communication, (2) is not processed consciously in communication, aka "you don't talk about it and analyze it collectively in conversations" (unless you're a scientist talking about evolutionary biology) and (3) it does require individuals to break-out of the moment and think a bit deeper on shit, even if this may have the side effect of making you less attentive and sometimes makes you seem insensitive bordering on either psychopathy or autism depending on your social skills (or an "evil ego-centric not-living-in-the now intellectual" for less sophisticated minds)

- the one done by individuals, using their brains, either consciously or not, and usually in data formats that can be easily encoded in language for people to be able to talk about their visions of the future and "infect" others with them; this is the realm of memes and visions and most of the interesting shit happens there

Also, the article mentions some pretty deep insights when talking about depression, anxiety etc. Imho there's quite a lot that could be done in psychiatry and positive psychology through more "future-vision focused" therapies. Yeah, it's dangerous shit to play with, we know what happened when Hitler did "future-vision therapy" on a whole nation and it went wrong... But it's a tool with great potential, that requires you to break-of-the-now a little bit. And yeah, generally the powerful tools that result from "breaking-out-of-the-now" tend to be dangerous, like nuclear weapons and nuclear power (not "thinking in the now" sane person would develop technology that requires millenia-long waste disposal planning), but we're sure gonna be glad to have these tools once we start moving around the universe more...

(Oh, and I dunno what's with this anti-NYT sentiments Americans have lately... as an European I find it the most enjoyable source of Sunday morning reading from the american press, once you learn to ignore it's obviously partisan political agenda and focus on the actual content.)


EDIT: my point (3) from above obviously belongs under the second bullet point and should be labeled (1)... did a stupid text moving around and a renumbering thing I guess... sorry for the confusion and hope you didn't understand backwards what I was saying :)


That article is not wrong. Your quote from the article is highly probable, when evaluated via the likelihood function of our understanding of intelligence in animals. The article is long and the title phrasing is less than stellar but the essence: humans can plan into the future better than other animals is not at all controversial.

The idea that historical knowledge is intertwined in RNA/DNA is not quite wrong but neither is it correct. There are indeed structural biases and priors which make learning things about nature easier (such as scale invariance or compositionality within the signal). Compared to animals however, human children learn slower because we seem to come with fewer such priors. A macaque will reach higher stages of an understanding of object permanence long before a human child. We spend the first few months learning to learn what needs to be learned. Some parts of the brain seem to be experientially independent but others strongly depend on experience, as for example, research into restoring vision has shown.

You linked to an article stating that while detecting the faster P waves seconds before is possible in animals, there is no mechanism or consistency in studies looking for the ability to detect earthquakes at longer timescales. This is poor support for the notion that knowledge is intertwined with RNA.

To the best of our current knowledge, language is key to human intelligence. When it comes to complex grammars, false belief tracking and the highest stages of understanding of object permanence, humans are unmatched. It's true that animal intelligence is underrated, pigs and chimps do track false beliefs but that is only at a basic level, since they fail to account for more complex deceptions.

The ability to engage in counterfactual reasoning is unique in humans but is strongly dependent on a series of situation dependent heuristics or schema codified in language. Deaf individuals suffer similar reasoning and linguistic deficiencies to hearing individuals with damage to eg Broca speech areas. In the delayed match-to-sample task, when deprived of their ability to engage a phonological loop humans are surprisingly not much better than monkeys, apes or dolphins ( < 10 mins) or even bees (seconds).

In learning a transitive inference task, humans take hundreds of trials compared to just over a thousand for a pigeon when given the same training regime. But when the relation is represented linguistically, it takes less than 5 trials to learn.

Animal intelligence is certainly downplayed and beyond our ability to handle complex grammars, there is no aspect of intelligence unique to humans. But that single alteration has made a world of difference.

The actual flaw in the article is that it too easily dismisses language to focus on prediction and inference. But prediction and inference is done throughout the animal kingdom and perhaps even outside of it. The complex sort of counter-factual reasoning unique to us is underpinned by language.


Bullshit. We are built by evolution to live in this particular physical environment and had no trouble living there for last few millions of years or so.

What we are not evolved to do is to live in an overpopulated urban areas, forced to wage slavery and to constantly compete for everything, even a place in a subway, while being awashed with emotionally charged verbal and visual bullshit 24h, hipsterism and other forms of idiotic cosplay of unearned success and presumably high social status by each and every one passed by, while being over-regulated by stupid laws imposed on us by a bloated self-serving "government" so even a straight look of contempt at a tasteless, fat woman in some stupid yoga pants would lead to trouble.

the Moment has nothing to do with this. It is so called "human society".


I'm perfectly happy living in one of those urban areas. I speak out when the people around me are doing things that are rude or dangerous or disgusting and then I move on. My actions towards others are intended to avoid causing all the problems you're describing(anxiety, self-doubt, nervousness); hopefully they inspire others to be considerate or change their behavior. The mindfulness skills that cities help cultivate are acceptance and releasing(letting go).

If you find yourself constantly angry or stressed or nervous about other people you should probably remove yourself from the situation, relax and let it go. If you aren't prepared for confrontation or are worried about the situation escalating then use the moments before you let it go to come up with other ways to potentially solve the problem. Get crazy with it, like making a bunch of untraceable fliers, or making a long anonymous post to some digital community related to the location or activity. Their are lots of ways to influence how people act in the long term, in the short term direct confrontation almost always works.

Situations where you're unable to remove yourself from the area to avoid someone are the worst. This is why performances on the subway piss me off so much, or people ranting about something. I've been making a point to directly confront anyone doing anything that makes me uncomfortable on the subway and tell them why it makes me uncomfortable and that they need to stop. Just today some women came on the train and started yelling about eating a plant based diet, how it was good for the planet. I agree with her and I'm on and off vegan, but it's NOT fucking cool to start yelling on the subway unless you're getting violated by someone or you're in danger. I snapped her with my spectacles repeating, "ma'am, would you stop yelling on the train", ending with, "You're making all vegans look bad." She did finally stop


I think the point is not that humans can learn to cope with urban environments, like you suggest - The point is that humans weren't meant to live in them. Everything the parent poster says is true, and you're just saying "Humans can get to a point where it's tolerable." I for one think I should not have a verbal and visual barrage of bullshit hit me with full force everyday, powered by the interests of multinational tech companies or governments. Peace and quiet is something that should be treasured, not lost and then made up for with mental tricks.


I agree. My long term plan with my life is to acquire the wealth and knowledge to build and maintain my own life using permaculture. I'd say I agree with you and the thread OP that we weren't made to live in these nasty, dirty, stressing urban environments.

My main point is that the knowledge in this article arms you with the idea that you can cope and live within these non-humane environments by basically hacking your brain(avoiding negative prediction paths). You could call it raising your awareness to a higher level of consciousness. So, while you still might notice from time to time someone is doing something gross or that would annoy you, you no longer focus on it. You let it go, you focus on something else, your breathe, your balance, what you making for dinner, how much you love someone, how bad our infrastructure is, how to solve that problem at work, how not to solve that problem at work, how did that nasty ass smear get on the subway door's window?


I think you make a good point calling it 'A higher level of consciousness'. It makes a lot of sense: In rural environments there is less stimulus and so your brain adapts less; in a city environment, there is a lot of stimulus, so if you want to manage your emotions and productivity, you must adapt. I submit that the conscious brain adaptations that a person makes will give them greater emotional and mental control, or willpower.


The premise that "humans were meant" to do anything is a strange one.


This lecture[1] about barefoot running by a Podiatrist has a great quote in it in response to the some bare foot enthusiasts saying, "Humans were born to run." "Humans were born with one purpose, to reproduce then die." I agree, All other "purposes"(happiness, satisfaction, etc.) serve this mandate, reproduction.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGtryE0TPZPESgSYbVjQz...


Funny, at any moment I might agree with each of you. One moment (actually a few days) I will dream of a simpler time or maybe some post apocalyptic future another I am soaking in the barrage quite amused by it and the puzzle of it's purpose and yet another influencing and enjoying those around me. I have no plan ( more than a few days), I live in the moment.


You could consider going to live in a rural area and getting a simpler job. It's a real option and many people choose it.


I appreciate the suggestion. I am 22 and happened to grow up in a very small town of ~400 people without internet until I was 16. I moved to the city to get software work and I will stay here for the rest of my life. So I guess I'm a hypocrite.


In my opinion, many people make this mistake by believing that just because we've evolved to live a certain lifestyle (the example being pre-civilization hunter-gatherer societies) - that this way of life is indisputably the most comfortable and natural way for us to live, and that deviating from this lifestyle in any way is almost always detrimental.

In other words, they fail to take into consideration that reduction of challenge (e.g. through technological means) is also change in everyday behavior that deviates from the "orthodox" way of living, but nevertheless it makes life much better. We don't live how our bodies intended to live, and prehistoric behaviors are no longer practiced - but the fact that there is no need anymore to exercise this sort of behavior is a good thing, since the necessity to do so implied struggle, discomfort and scarcity - all unfavorable circumstance.

In short - living as nature intended implied struggle, and the cessation of that way of life is in many ways a result of removal of struggle, and not necessarily just some "unorthodox" living that allegedly puts our being under unnaturally high amounts stress.

My point: Yes, the contemporary lifestyle is stressful, and yes it is very different from the way we've evolved to live, but it's probably still much more comfortable and enjoyable than any aboriginal circumstance and prehistoric way of life our ancestors found themselves in.


I'd argue that some of our ancestors lived in quite egalitarian groups of abundance even without the technology we have today; And conversely our world today is drive by inequality and scarcity despite our amazing technology.

What technology has really given us is security. The paradise of our ancestors could have been ruined by disease or famine caused by the climate changing or and unexpected flood. Or just a new group of predators moving into the region making it dangerous or killing off the prime game food for the tribe. Our technology and knowledge provides us security and foresight so we're able to move or stockpile or even invent new technology to avoid catastrophes. Sadly, here we are faced with the total disruption of our biosphere and we're having trouble not fucking it up.

One, I believe people feel this way about our ancestors because of the feelings one experiences when they really visit and listen to nature. I for one can almost solve any emotional problems with a good walk in the woods. This feeling drives our awareness of the discomfort that our civilization shoves down our throat everyday. We've used technology to simplify our lives and complicate our lives. Right now I think we've complicated our individual lives quite a lot, but with that complication comes a security that someone else did enough work that I can get something eat tomorrow.


Off topic: I love all the great longform NYT stuff HN posts, but can never find it on my own - where can I find it on my own?


Long-form NYT stuff is generally in the NYT Sunday Magazine (and its online equivalent).


Thanks!



[flagged]


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14386069 and marked it off-topic.


...but, why? I'm not an american, and I can see from an ocean away (pun intended) that they're incredibly politically biased, but once you ignore their political stance, the actual content of their articles is very good and insightful. Yeah, titles are click-baity, but so is everything else today, and you may have to skip reading their first intro paragraph and their last conclusions one (heh, I sometimes do this even when reading "unbiased" academic papers, to form my own opinion and not get infected with the one of the authoring researcher, so no biggie here), but "the meat" of their articles is darn good!


Thanks


[deleted]


Here's a quote from your page:

"There is nothing that is that important. As long as you believe this or that is so important, you are caught up in playing a game."

Here's a quote from the article that you didn't read:

"Homo prospectus is too pragmatic to obsess on death for the same reason that he doesn’t dwell on the past: There’s nothing he can do about it. He became Homo sapiens by learning to see and shape his future, and he is wise enough to keep looking straight ahead."

One of those is nihilistic...


What a useless comment. This section is to discuss the article, not your little anecdotes, predispositions and especially not for some random spam.




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