Yesterday my post was about preserving your knees so you can enjoy your body for the long term. Several people expressed the opposite philosophy, that you should enjoy life now, even if it means more health problems later. I hear that same philosophy when I get into discussions about proper diet. But it seems to me that unless you are already taking heroin, you aren't being true to your own philosophy. You should be enjoying a good high now, not worried about what happens later.

I rarely make an important decision without considering the 60-year implication. My cash flow projections for retirement end at age 110. That's why the house we're building has an elevator.

I've always been this way. When I was in second grade I was already planning for my life as it is now, spending hours each day drawing comics. I assumed that would be my job. My focus changed by high school, to becoming a lawyer, so I buckled down and got good grades, figuring I'd need them. Things change, but I always have a plan.

The downside of planning so far ahead is that you worry more, and you probably enjoy today less. The upside is that your golden years might be a bit shinier. I'm not saying my approach is the best, but I don't think it's fair to call the "live for today" approach any kind of philosophy unless you're also quitting your job, having unprotected sex with strangers, and snorting coke. Junkies have a philosophy. You have rationalizations.
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Apr 27, 2009

You're assuming everyone wants to quit their job, have unprotected sex with strangers, and snort coke. And if you're assuming everyone wants to do those things, then I must assume that you want to as well. Therefore, I'll be sad to not visit this site any more, but I hope doing lines after having sex in the airplane lavatory with the flight crew fulfills you in ways that dilbert couldn't.

For those of us who love our jobs and don't want to be a drug or sex addict, "live for now" is a perfectly consistent mindset. You seem to equate "live for now" with "destructive behavior". Perhaps you're future planning is your way of preventing your own "destructive behavior." That's perfectly valid and good luck to you. But, seriously, you seemed to go a little off-kilter with the "live for now" people. Give up. The correct approach to life is very personality-specific. Or, to put it another way, it's not always about you (just most of the time).
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Apr 25, 2009
Shaan, I tend to agree with Scott's interpretation of "live for today". I think your interpretation is incorrect. You use the phrase "because you don't want to live a life with regrets". That is FUTURE thinking.
Apr 24, 2009

There IS an addictive chemical in fast foods, and it is present in shocking (but 'legal') !$%*!$%*!$% That substance is .... salt.

Salt, taken in unnatural !$%*!$%*!$ over time, alters body chemistry (at a cellular level) to the point that diminished salt intake leads to craving, which, if not satisfied, is followed by withdrawal symptoms identical to such things as nicotine and cocaine.

This, of course, is why fish never leave the sea. They can't. They are salt junkies.

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Apr 24, 2009
I think the "Live for today" philosophy is mainly applied to getting over your fear of anything, whether it be a fear of applying for a job you think you won't get, or talking to a girl who you think is out of your league, etc, because you don't want to live a life with regrets, not because you should be happy every hour every day without regard for what's going to happen to you 10 seconds from now. You seem to have interpreted it to it's most extreme Mr. Adams, and I agree with AudioGuy's analogy. I don't think there are any life philosophies one should take to its most literal meaning.
Apr 24, 2009
this is with what I came up about 2 days ago:

Life is about having a pleasant life on the long term. (The Highest and smoothest (constanttly linear) level of happiness). ^_^
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Apr 24, 2009
I'm not sure "Enjoy life now despite health problems later" is quite the way to sum up people who aren't tofu-eating vegan nuts. The comparison is between (a) Enjoying yourself today with the moderately increased, but by no means certain, risk of more unpleasant problems later, or (b) Making yourself miserable BOTH now AND later, with a moderately, but by no means certain, decreased risk of more unpleasant problems later in life.

It is not the same as doing something completely reckless (like drugs, not studying, or unprotected sex) with the severely and near-certain risk of extremely bad things happening to you later. Shooting heroin every day for 20 years is significantly worse for you than, say, drinking two sodas every day for 20 years. Neither is good, but at least you can do something to work off the extra calories from a soda.

Of course, I'm moderately allergic to soy products, so most of the standard health-nut diets wouldn't work for me anyway (I spend half my time just trying to find things I like that don't have any stinking soy in them!!).

Additionally, executing something flawlessly doesn't guarantee a positive result. I'm neither slug nor saint when it comes to health, falling somewhere in the middle -- but pushing for saint seems silly, as I would experience far less pleasure (bad tastes), it would cost a lot more, it would be a lot more work, it is unlikely to help get me most of the things I want in life, I find most of the people who live that way to be kind of off-putting personally, and I find the people who want to legislate ultra-healthy lifestyles to be deplorable, egomaniacal a-holes who I resent for not minding their own business.

Not to mention, you can do pretty well just by eliminating little things. The easiest one is forcing yourself to avoid fast food no matter what for 6 months, no matter how inconvenient, no matter how expensive. After doing that, it will look and smell so nasty, you won't WANT to touch it. (I did this a few years ago, and now I'm not so skeptical about the conspiracy theories that it contains addictive chemicals...)
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Apr 24, 2009
I can bring peace of mind to all of you, nihilists and non-nihilists alike, if you will simply borrow my world view, my personal philosophy -- a world view I borrowed from Juan Maria Valdez (Carl Sagan's spiritual mentor) and never returned.

"A man is nothing more, and nothing less, than the sum total of his billions and billions of coffee bean-sized beliefs.”"

Apr 24, 2009
Sacrifice today for tomorrow, or sacrifice tomorrow for today?

You don't get to choose one or the other. You can only try to balance them.

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Apr 24, 2009
with ongoing medical advances and free healthcare provided by the US govt, why not live large today? I mean come on, you blow out your knee, hip, shoulder, heart, etc., go to the ER and get a free replacement? The era of self responsibility is long gone and now we are dependent on what congress will provide. Shoot, why stop there, soon the government will be selling us cars and providing mortgages too. Bailouts all around on the house...one of these days though the Chinese are going to stop sending us an allowance!

Thumbs down!
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Apr 24, 2009
But Scott, if I quit my job, I wouldn't HAVE to have unprotected sex with strangers.
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Apr 24, 2009
As Auntie Mame would say, "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
Apr 24, 2009
Haha, go Scott! Think of your great grandchildren!! I've unfortunately the same problem. As a result, I veered off the yellow brick painted for me by my parents (lawyer, psychiatrist, or bio-chem engineer) to enroll in film school....

Now I'm not saying that art school is necessarily making me a happier person. My sharp unmitigated opinions have exposed me to a whole gamut of criticism, but at least I'm not the suicidal science geek with perfect grades...

Just gotta play with the cards life deals you, eh?
Apr 24, 2009
In answer to mnjt, I think it is the effort rather than the result that is important and defines people.
Apr 24, 2009
I tend to tread the middle ground, both envying those who can formulate long term plans and those who really live in the now. It can be a little disheartening clinging to the middle of the bell curve.
Apr 23, 2009
With respect, that provocative excretion is largely opinionated drivel. There's nothing inherently more philosophically valid about a 'live for a day that might never come' approach to life as there is to a 'live for today' strategy. Besides, what do people really mean when they say 'live for today'? You disingeniously suggest this means they should be having unprotected sex with strangers, drinking and drugging themselves into a chemical soup. But that's just balderdash.

Living for today simply may mean acknowledging that a) planning for something 60 years away when you can't envision next year is ridiculous in the extreme (and likely to be unsuccessful) and b) if the planning distracts from your happiness today for happiness you *might have* tomorrow, it is probably not all that rational either.

Your the economics major. You tell me: Happiness now that you can experience if you let yourself or happiness you *may* experience 60 years from now, *if* you don't die from accident or some health condition, if the world itself and your region aren't in such a mess that's impossible, and if gradual deterioration hasn't reduced your ability to have fun and live life to the point where you just can't get much out of it - which is the more rational pursuit? Bird in the hand or two in the bush 3000 !$%*! away that might burn down or be eaten before you even get near them?

And what's 'living for today' - not everyone would say 'living' or 'being happy' involved being a coked-out, drunken wastrel with the social mores of an !$%*! tom cat.... that might be your definition (it isn't, but it seems like that is your suggestion and I doubt you'll be doing much of that 60 years from now).... but most people would tell you that living for today means:

1) Enjoying the day and not losing sight of the present joys because you worry about the future
2) Not vainly saving every penny for tomorrow when you might never see it, while torturing yourself today (you don't have this dilemna, being well off today - but many folks do)
3) Realizing that you could die anytime from things beyond your control, or be paralyzed, or otherwise incapacitated and that you might really regret not living a little in the hear and now if that transpired (assuming post mortem regret or post-drooling idiocy regret is possible)
4) In realizing that the here and now has within it an infinity of beauty if you open your eyes and look around you, and in realizing the future is likely ephemeral and unpredictable and may be denied you by fate, you gain an understanding of the value of those around you and their value and how they should not be taken for granted

I've always been a planner. I expected life to go certain ways. Some plans haven't panned out and I've lost some of my investments. So, was that a better choice than not having made them and having enjoyed those resources when I had them? I'd have to say in retrospect, probably not. In either case I've ended up without the resource, but I also lack the happy memories thanks to my 'planning'.

Then take my father's heart attack (barely survived) and my mother's collision with a dump truck (ditto several times over). Both of those were great illustrators that the things you think you have may be gone in an eyeblink. I was lucky in both cases and they were not, but that was literally luck and good fortune for me. Slight differences would have spelled different results. And these events have built a better ongoing relationship with both of them, a better perspective on their value to me and on how much work really doesn't mean (compared to what I once thought) to me. These moments adjust your valuations of things. And now I am thankful for every day I get with them, with my friends, and alive living in the West.

I do still plan, a bit, for the future. But I'm currently debating depleting my RRSP to pursue further education. I have a feeling I won't make 70. I have looked at my happiness and think maybe the money applied over the next few years might bring more long term satisfaction to my life than waiting for it another 30 years and hoping corporate greed and economic collapse haven't robbed it of all value.

So, by planning to probably do this over the next 4 years at the expense of 30 from now, am I living for today or planning for tomorrow? I'd say the former moreso, but you can choose to view this either way.

Ultimately, as is your wont, you've constructed a straw man to watch the monkey boys dance. And, Sir, I like your tune!

Apr 23, 2009
Shooting Heroin at age 20 is to "living for today", as planning exactly what what you're going to be doing at 4:37pm on August 3rd 2050 is to planning ahead.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 23, 2009
Don't run on pavement. That's the best advice anyone can give you re: knees. Also, don't hit them with a hammer.

Just because I took care of my knees doesn't mean I gave up having fun. At age 62, I've been flying hang gliders for nearly 30 years, mountain biked about as long have backpacked in the Sierra all my life, and still am. I just took up rock climbing at my local gym.

For this, I gave up running on pavement? I guess it was worth it.
Apr 23, 2009
Tangential side note: I've heard that installing an elevator in an older person's home often precipitates a decrease in their health and mobility, ie. having to use the steps kept them in better shape. Just sayin'.
Apr 23, 2009
scott, i loved your post.

such sweeping and powerful logic, and on a significant subject.

i think if you looked deeper into your own life, you would find inconsistencies with your main life motto. just like christians who say they should be nice to everybody but in practice do not walk the walk.

intellectual belief in something is not the same as actually behaving in that worldview. especially when you extrapolate on what the core value SHOULD mean for obscure situations.

your analysis was perfect. we all cut corners AND we all promote responsibility at times. we are doubleminded creatures. jesus also commented on this. either people will love one and hate the other, or hold to one and despise the other. you cannot serve 2 masters. it just takes some of us a very long time to see the inconsistencies between the competing philosophies.
Apr 23, 2009
Somebody asked, "What's the point of dying with perfect knees?"
The answer is: Enjoying them until the day you die.
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