Citizen Action Monitor

As biological creatures with finite lifespans, we care more about Now than the Future – Nate Hagens (11)

That’s a problem because most of our societal, cultural, environmental challenges are in the Future.

No 2294 Posted by fw, June 9, 2018

To access links to all other posts in this series, click on the Tab titled “Where Are We Going? by Dr. Nate Hagens” in the top left margin. 

“As biological organisms, we care about right now. We care about this weekend. We care about watching an NBA playoff game and having some chicken wings and some beer rather than worry about climate change or species extinction or energy depletion or any of the other stuff I’m going to talk about tonight.”Nate Hagens

In yesterday’s post, Pt 10, continuum 9, Hagens noted that our beliefs are so powerful that we cling to them even in the face of undeniable facts – we construct our own virtual reality in our minds, a reality that seems more real to us than the reality of the real world. Moreover, our precious beliefs are wrapped in feelings, not facts, and it’s feelings that we respond to.

As if that isn’t concern enough, in today’s post, Pt 11, continuum 10, Hagens presents us with another reason why our human nature sabotages our motivation to be proactive in the face of dire, looming existential concerns – threats that do not affect us, our loved ones, and our “tribe”, life and limb — directly, immediately, and into the future — are unlikely to motivate us to react.

Below is the embedded video of Hagens’ 60-minute address, followed by an 18-minute Q&A session. My transcript of Pt. 11, continuum 10, runs from 19:18 to 19:58.

Alternatively, a video of Hagens’ talk, along with a “loosely related” essay on the talk, are available by clicking on the following linked title. This version, published by Resilience.org, also includes excellent readers’ comments, including responses by Hagens.

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Where are we going? by Nate Hagens, Resilience.org, May 8, 2018

TRANSCRIPT (from 19:18 to 19:58)

[HUMAN BEHAVIOR]

19:18 – [Continuum 10: Now vs Future] — Now versus the Future. As biological organisms, we care about right now. We care about this weekend. We care about watching an NBA playoff game and having some chicken wings and some beer rather than worry about climate change or species extinction or energy depletion or any of the other stuff I’m going to talk about tonight.

Why? Because our ancestors that focused on the present, out-competed those ancestors that were worried about some esoteric event in the future. We are hyper-focused on the near-term, and that’s a problem because most of our societal, cultural, environmental challenges are in the long-term, in the future.

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[Resilience.org Supplement] — Now vs Future – We are biological creatures with finite lifespans. For good evolutionary reasons we disproportionately care about the present more than the future.  But most of our modern challenges are ‘in the future’.

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About Dr. Nathan John Hagens – Hagens, 51, worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers for 10 years before closing his own hedge fund in 2003 to develop a systems synthesis approach to the human predicament. At present, Dr. Hagens is a professor at the University of Minnesota where he teaches a systems synthesis Honors seminar called Reality 101, A Survey of Human Predicament. The readings and lectures cover literature in systems ecology, energy and natural resources, thermodynamics, history, anthropology, human behavior, neuroscience, environmental science, sociology, economics, globalization/trade, and finance/debt with an overarching goal to give students a general understanding of how our human ecosystem functions as a whole.

Visit Nate Hagens’ personal website at The Monkey Trap.

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