Never ending now MichelPireu     | Business Day Friday, December 14, 2018
From David Perell at perell.com

The structure of our social media feeds place us in a Never-Ending Now. It sucks us into a temporal myopia. Like hamsters running on a wheel, we live in an endless cycle of ephemeral content consumption — a merry-go-round that spins faster and faster but never goes anywhere.

Consider the time-bias of our major social media feeds: Snapchat 24 Hours or Less; Instagram Stories 24 Hours or Less; The Instagram Feed 3 Days or Less; Facebook 5 Days or Less; Twitter 2 Days or Less.

2018 isn’t the end of history. Rather, the human story — from our Neanderthal roots, to our Palaeolithic ancestors, to the Roman Empire, to the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the here and now — is still unfolding. Stuck in the fury of social media, we’re swept up in dizzying chaos like leaves in a gale force wind. We’re trapped in a Never-Ending Now — blind to our place in history, engulfed in the present moment, overwhelmed by the slightest breeze of chaos.

Crucially, the people I admire most live outside the Never-Ending Now.

Two examples: When I interviewed Morgan Housel he advised reading more history and less news. During a recent lunch with a successful investor, he spoke exclusively about American history and the cyclicality of markets.

Don’t get me wrong… I admire the creativity of my young peers. They act intuitively. I love their enthusiasm, their optimism, and their starry eyed belief that anything is possible.

But, like a fish in water, they’re blind to their information environment.

And yet, as William James observed, we must reflect that, when we reach the end of our days, our life experience will equal what we have paid attention to, whether by choice or default.

We are at risk, without quite fully realizing it, of living lives that are less our own than we imagine.
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