Pascal’s wager and my bowl of ice cream

I have marveled that although my life is far past half-way done, this doesn’t bother me much, which seemed irrational. But I’ve also argued, in connection with Pascal’s wager, that we are decoupled from our past and future selves by decreasing weight functions: that the present value of a pound of pleasure a year from now is only a few ounces.

I still hold to this view, and it explains the ice cream effect. If I assess my stage of life by integrating from birth to death without a weight function, then yes, I am 75% finished. With a weight function in there, however, the early and late years drop away. And that is why, throughout life, until near the end, as long as one is healthy, it can feel like the middle.

Living in the here-and-now is like driving at night with headlights shining on the road. A hazard ahead is nearly invisible until you get quite close.

[14 October 2022]

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