Re: Infinite anticipation

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Mon Jan 07 2002 - 21:11:52 MST

Jacques Du Pasquier wrote:
> No, the reason would be to prolong *just a little bit more* :-) the
> pleasure of contemplating the possibilities.

> OK, first the belief adapts over time : at noon you believe you'll
> start at half past noon, then at half past noon, that you'll start at
> one pm, etc. At each point you rejoice at the idea that your are going
> to go, and "now" just ranges over time.
> Then through some meta thinking you come to see some pattern in this
> (hopefully !) and conclude that you are not going to start ever. So
> this time you change your mind and you decide to start for good. But
> guess what... you look at the snow, and you wait just a little more,
> choosing to start in the next minute. Etc. After all, you were decided
> "for good" all the way long.

Been there. Done that. When I get to the meta level, and I decide to
procrastinate, I'm still in the meta level, and I realize my immediate
procrastination means infinite procrastination. I.e., unless I start
*right now*, then given my history, I know I'll never start...and that,
alone, can be enough for "now or never".

I actually have more than one project that I am stretching out, getting
the joy of doing it in small pieces over years...but only because I know
I will do a little bit more if I have time, reinforced by the fact that
I *do* do a little bit more when I have time. But the project has a
definite endpoint.

And most of my projects have a time constraint outside of my life. If I
do not do them within a certain, usually but not always long, stretch of
time (with a not-previously-known end time), they become irrelevant.
For instance, I could study up on biology and strive for a cure for all
forms of cancer, but it is likely that someone else will do so first,
thus I can safely delay doing so. Likewise, it is probable that someone
will eventually make space travel practical for the general public;
there, however, I have a few advantages, and making it happen sooner
will aid many other things I wish to accomplish (if mainly because of
lower material prices from non-terrestrial mining and from the
possibility, in an extreme I hope never becomes necessary but which
seems more enticing every month, of establishing a refuge from Earth).
Therefore, I do actively push my shot at that along, even though I am
well aware of others doing the same thing in parallel.

Which is not to say that deriving entertainment, even joy, from one's
own imagination is not a desirable skill. (There are arguments against
that, but such would best be a separate thread.) But deliberate
self-deception in this manner can not be made to last, not when one
makes very certain to stay connected to the truth, and the realities of
the world (including the fact of when, or if, one is going to do a
certain thing).

> life is ending and I
> haven't done what I wanted to do. Awful. But what if you're in a
> situation in which there is no such time limit ?

Like, say, where one of your constantly highest-priority projects is to
try to remove the time limit on life? Once again: been there. Done
that. Still living it. Even if the necessary resources *do* put aside
some things I might enjoy more in the short term. ^_^

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