You Won???t Stay the Same, Study Finds

???Believing that we just reached the peak of our personal evolution makes us feel good,??? Dr. Quoidbach said. ???The ???I wish that I knew then what I know now??? experience might give us a sense of satisfaction and meaning, whereas realizing how transient our preferences and values are might lead us to doubt every decision and generate anxiety.???

Or maybe the explanation has more to do with mental energy: predicting the future requires more work than simply recalling the past. ???People may confuse the difficulty of imagining personal change with the unlikelihood of change itself,??? the authors wrote in Science.

Can this be right?

As the authors of the Invisible Gorilla say:

We all believe that we are capable of seeing what’s in front of us, of accurately remembering important events from our past, of understanding the limits of our knowledge, of properly determining cause and effect. But these intuitive beliefs are often mistaken ones that mask critically important limitations on our cognitive abilities. . . . As we go through life, we often act as though we know how our minds work and why we behave the way we do. It is surprising how often we really have no clue.

Tree of Life is Far

People describe the movie as spiritual, uplifting, and awe-inspiring. This all fits with our understanding of near vs. far thinking. Far mode is evoked by large space and time scales, smooth textures, small numbers of types, high level goals, moralizing, metaphor, and positive mood. And all these things evoke each other. A vivid near death is about the most negative and intense thing we can experience, and we naturally want to escape that. As the quotes above suggests, ???awe??? is a positive experience of far/big things. In far mode we can experience awe, and gain comfort. It seems to me that if our experience is awesome and comforting enough, we feel we have ???transcended??? our usual concerns, and we call that experience ???spiritual.??? And if we don???t understand the source of this feeling, we call it ???mysterious.??? ;)