Thoughts on Being and Time

Before reading any further, I need you to watch this video. It is ten minutes long, but is is well worth your time (ha). Like me, you probably won’t agree with some of the content, but it’s pretty stimulating visually, so you’ll deal.

First, I want to just say that this idea of time perspective is really fascinating. I’ve honestly never considered how important an awareness of time might be during the process of decision-making. I always saw decision-making as a microeconomic process, one in which the only variables were perceived costs and perceived benefits. After watching that video, I feel ridiculous for not having recognized that time is also a factor in this process.

Nevertheless, I think that the video overestimates time perspective’s role in our lives. This overestimation is really apparent in the “disaster recipe” that the speaker mentions. This “dangerous” recipe allegedly consists of too many video games, too little social interaction and an immeasurable amount of internet porn. On one hand, I think that this recipe has some truth to it. In high school, I had classes with dudes who were just inconceivably bad students. They secretly played pokemon during class, they had nude pictures of impossibly endowed anime women on their phones (or sometimes they printed them out and carried them in binders) and although they could speak extensively on why Cloud was a better protagonist than Squall, they were wholly unable to discuss current events. Also, of course, they were almost always super terrible with women. According to the video, all of these behaviors can be traced back to that recipe. That’s silly. Time perspective is not the reason that high school dropout rates are so high. It is a reason among myriad others.

I also don’t buy the assertion that we stop being hedonists after childhood. Even when we delay our gratification, we’re still hoping that it one day gets fulfilled. Most people probably get more satisfaction out of things after they have been delayed. And I bet that there are even people who find pleasure in delaying pleasure.

Finally, my real beef with the video comes from the fact that it asserts that all people are rigidly fixed in one time perspective. This is very untrue. People not only oscillate between time perspectives, but hold various perspectives concurrently. In the case of the “present-hedonistic” girl that had unprotected sex and got pregnant, who’s to say that she had no intricate future plans? Maybe she had an academic scholarship to Duke or Princeton. Maybe she went out with friends only once a month and believed in heaven. Why does her decision to have unprotected sex have to mean that she’s no longer future-oriented? Furthermore, what person is so future-oriented that s/he never acts for the present? Certainly not someone who I [want to] know.

In the end, I really like the ideas of the video, but they’re just too simple(and slyly conservative). The creator(s) should have taken the time to put some deeper thought into their claims. Still, interesting stuff. Thanks for your time.

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