Future Transcendental or Future Fabulous?

I watched this while eating breakfast this morning:

Go watch it, it’s short.

You’re back? Ok. Two main thoughts.

  1. While Philip Zimbardo claims that a Future Transcendentalist is focused on life after death, I think there is a sub-category of this type that doesn’t think about life after death, but about achieving some kind of stardom, some level of fame. This is the frame of reference that makes you fantasize about all the trappings of success without actually making real goals or attempting actual work. This is thinking about what it will be like at your book signing when you don’t put in the work as a writer, or your movie opening when you don’t put in the work as an actor. There is a kind of death involved, but it is not a physical death, rather a death of the normal, a slaying of the mundane that then sets a person free to be loved and adored by millions and able to live a life free of encumbrances and worry.1 Instead of Future Transcendentalist, this might be called “Future Fabulous.”

  2. This year, I’ve been trying to shift my time perspective (without framing it this way until this morning) to a better balance between Present Hedonism (getting away from my tendency toward Present Fatalism) and Future Life-Goal Oriented (getting away from my tendency toward Future Fabulous). My successes have been varied. However, I think the writing goals that I am setting, my dedication to a regular and sustained workout of push-ups and sit-ups, putting more effort into controlling my food portions and eating a more balance, healthy diet, and my reflections on long term goals and the decision to return to school and get my Ph.D. indicate a growing ability to shift my perspective toward Future Life-Goal setting.

    I’ve had less success, I think, in getting away from my mental habit of seeing things through a Present Fatalism perspective. But I am conscious of this and will continue to try to think differently about how much agency I have over my life at any given moment.

What do you think? Does Zimbardo’s talk strike a chord with you? Are you able to shift perspectives with alacrity or are you normally stuck in one way of seeing time?

On this day..

  1. Granted, this is not in any way an actual representation of celebrity life, but I think most of us can’t quite rid ourselves of the idea that to be a Johnny Depp or an Angelina Jolie bestows a higher level of existence. []