Thinking long term

It’s been hard not to just go off on a rant over the past few weeks.  Forcing myself to be hopeful in light of the current state of politics, economics, the environment, and extremism has been a chore.  It took me most of “The Book of Hope” by Goodall and Abrams to break through a whole lot of built-up cynicism and growing hopelessness.  What finally nudged me back, if only just a little, was a quote from Einstein on page 205.  “The harmony of natural law…reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

That was followed closely by this week’s Tiny Thought from Farnam Street, “The source of problems is blindspots. There is something hidden from us that, if we knew, would change how we thought and acted.  One of the best ways to reveal blindspots is simply to lengthen your time horizon.  A lot of good advice simply boils down to thinking longer term.”

Most of our personal and societal problems stem from not thinking long term.  We demand immediate fixes and then can’t understand how we didn’t anticipate all the unintended consequences that come after.  We attempt to disrupt the harmony of natural law and are surprised with Mother Nature slaps us in the face.

So, if perpetuating hopefulness requires action, at least in my interpretation of Goodall’s explanation of hope, and action perpetuates hope, a focus on long term thinking is the key.  What positive change do I (we) want and what am I (we) going to do to get there?  Most importantly, does that want reflect the harmony of natural law, of a superior intelligence, and not the simple thinking and acting of human beings?

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