Tuesday, March 28, 2006

that was then, this is now. except that 'that' was actually now as well.

There are all sorts of things I want to do, just not right now. The problem is that it is always right now, and so I never do them.

I guess that's one problem. The other is that, in general, I'd rather spend less time online than I do. However, what I'd really rather do is spend less time online in general but be checking my e-mail or blogging or whatever right now. And since it's always right now, I end up online constantly.

All this has led to my recent paroxysm of reading about hyperbolic discounting. Hyperbolic discounting is all about having a weird funhouse-shaped mirror relationship between "now" and "later", when it's easy to go to the blackboard and demonstrate that what you really should have is a nice linear relationship instead. Indeed, as far as I can tell, a lot of what ends up being success in the world has to do with the extent to which you are either dispositionally a linear-discounter* or manage to arrange your environment so you produce linear-discounting behavior despite yourself. Moreover, as far as I can tell, lots of the cognitive predations of the age are based on exploiting the naturally nonlinear way of feeling about time. I am obsessed with this.

* To any persnickety behavioral-economics-inclined readers, yes, I know the proper term is "exponential" and not "linear," but the idea of things being messed up because the natural relationship of mind and time is "non-linear" is more evocative to me than lamenting about it being "non-exponential."


jlp said...

"Time is crazy, baby."

Anonymous said...

the first sentence of that wikipedia link is terrible