Friday, January 04, 2013

Predicting the future

We underestimate how much we will change in the future. Buddhism, in a way, is about the idea that we can evolve towards enlightenment.

Here's a quote I liked in the NY Times summary of the article published in Science.

"When asked about their favorite band from a decade ago, respondents were typically willing to shell out $80 to attend a concert of the band today. But when they were asked about their current favorite band and how much they would be willing to spend to see the band’s concert in 10 years, the price went up to $129. Even though they realized that favorites from a decade ago like Creed or the Dixie Chicks have lost some of their luster, they apparently expect Coldplay and Rihanna to blaze on forever."

I thought about my cousins, who I lived with when they were 3 and 4:

"Dr. McAdams was reminded of a conversation with his 4-year-old daughter during the craze for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the 1980s. When he told her they might not be her favorite thing one day, she refused to acknowledge the possibility. But later, in her 20s, she confessed to him that some part of her 4-year-old mind had realized he might be right."

So the point is we're not great at predicting where we're going to end up. I remember reading about a study about romantic partners. People described who they would be with, and then in the future they checked in and asked them to describe their partners, and they were usually wrong.

Anyway, some people balk at the idea that they can evolve into something better along the path to enlightenment. I fervently hope it. There's lots of room for improvement in me.

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