Philip Zimbardo – The Secret Powers of Time

RSA ANIMATE: The Secret Powers of Time

There are 6 main time zones that people life in.

2 where people focus on on the past

  • Remember all of the good old times
  • Family records
  • Birthdays
  • Good times
  • Bad times
  • Family rituals

2 where people focus on the present

  • Hedonistic: live for pleasure and avoid pain
  • Seek knowledge
  • Seek sensation
  • It doesn’t pay to plan
  • My life is fated by my religion, my poverty, my conditions that I’m living under

2 where people focus on the future

  • To resist temptation
  • To work rather than play
  • Depending on your religion life begins after the death of the mortal body
  • To be future oriented you have to have trust that the things you do to prepare for the future will be carried out
  • The closer you are to your family the more likely you are present oriented

Italy has a La Lega movement where they want to cut the country in half.

  • They feel the top half of the country (the northern portion) does the majority of the work where the southern half is “lazy”
  • They found in general the northern half of the country is future oriented where people in the south tend to be present or past oriented

Book: Geography of Time – Robert Levine

  • Went around the world doing experiments on the pace of life
    • How much time has elapsed when you do certain activities?
    • In different cultures people do things at different paces
    • You can identify cultures by their life pace
    • Cities with the highest pace of life: men have the most coronary problems

We all begin life as present hedonists

  • We want pleasure and we want to avoid pain
  • He believes schooling takes present oriented people and makes them future oriented people

American children

  • In America a child drops out of school every 9 seconds
  • Study: By the time a boy is 21 years old, he’s spent 10,0000 hours playing video games alone
  • Brains are being digitally rewired and they will never fit in a traditional analog classroom
  • Its boring
  • They control nothing
  • Its passive
  • Learning in school is all about the delay of gratification

All addictions are addictions of present hedonism

  • Food
  • Drugs
  • Sex
  • Gambling
  • Etc

If kids are future oriented

  • They understand that they should not smoke
  • Understand they should not have sex
  • Understand they should not do drugs

Present oriented kids

  • Know the consequences but that knowledge never feeds back to change their behavior

We are under estimating the power of technology in re-wiring young people’s brains

USA Today study asked how busy Americans are

  • 50% busier now than I was last year
  • Sacrificed friends, family, and sleep for my success
  • Supposed you had an 8th day
    • They said “I would work harder to achieve more”

Sit Down Dinners

  • 20 years ago only 60% of American families had sit-down family dinners
  • 5 years ago 1 in 5 had sit-down dinners
  • You can’t have family values if you don’t have family meals together

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