The tenuous self, sensitive only to the needs of This Instant, always believes that the present is infinitely consequential.”

Alan Jacobs in The Guardian:

To increase your temporal bandwidth in the direction of the past is to make yourself less vulnerable to the cruelties of, for example, descending in wrath on a young woman whose clothing you disapprove of, or firing an employee because of a tweet you didn’t take time to understand. You realize that you need not obey the impulses of this moment — which, it seems safe to say, tend not to produce a tranquil mind.

The social media ecosystem is designed to generate constant, instantaneous responses to the provocations of Now.

Another benefit of reflecting on the past is awareness of the ways that actions in one moment reverberate into the future. You see that some decisions that seemed trivial when they were made proved immensely important, while others which seemed world-transforming quickly sank into insignificance. The tenuous” self, sensitive only to the needs of This Instant, always believes — often incorrectly — that the present is infinitely consequential.

One of the Best of 2018 (so far). Cogent, convicting, and deeply relevant. And I love that it was published in The Guardian newspaper.

Another nugget:

[A] potent question: What force shall represent the future in the present?” In other words, what laws and norms will embody our care for those who come after us, including those already here and those yet to be born? But this is a question that we cannot ask if our thoughts are imprisoned by the stimulation of what rolls across our Twitter and Facebook feeds.


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June 18, 2018 · church · culture · Alan Jacobs · the guardian · time · long term orientation · temporal bandwidth · best of 2018

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