Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Great Thought

Who doesn't want to believe that they, for at least one moment, thought of someone no one else had? It seems to me that William Hazlitt had a great one - disinterest.

Basically, Hazlitt argued that we bear the same relationship to our future selves that we do to others. The implications of this for identity, as well as ideas like economic self-interest, are actually pretty profound, and it's perhaps surprising that we still live in a world that believes that most human agency revolves around people having their own long-term interests in mind when they act.

All of us should know that nothing could be further from the truth. At least Hazlitt give us a decent reason why, a moment to liberate ourselves from the guilt of our past and to hope that we can be as charitable to our future selves as we have been abusive of our pasts.

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