April 30th, 2006


Obviously the thought activators are turned on us now

fizzybean posted about happiness, and my reply to him (around that some research suggests the answer to happiness seems to be when we are most heavily focussed on the present to the exclusion of past and future) got me thinking around it too, but on a somewhat different tack.

Are humans unique in being able to conceive of the concepts of past and future? We consciously plan for the future. Are we unique in that regard? I thought about animals that hibernate, and I'm fairly sure that their planning for the future is not a conscious decision but an instinctual one. I would be interested to hear of counter-examples.

If humans are unique in being able conceive and therefore plan around the past and future, then it would seem to be a very mixed blessing.