Introduction 00
Journey to Elsewhen 01
The View from in Here 02
Outside Looking In 03
In the Blindspot of the Mind's Eye 04
The Hound of Silence 05
The Future Is Now 06
Time Bombs 07
Paradise Glossed 08
Immune to Reality 09
Once Bitten 10
Reporting Live from Tomorrow 11
Afterword 12

Printable Version

In the Blindspot of the Mind's Eye
In Chapter 4, I pose and begin to answer the book's central question: Why do people make mistakes when they look into their own futures and try to decide what will make them happy? The full answer to this question extends over six chapters that describe the three basic mistakes that people make.

"Reality" is a movie generated by our brains. Because we don't realize this, we are far too confident that the stuff appearing in the movie is actually "out there" in the world when, in fact, it's not. When we imagine the future, we are similary overconfident that it will unfold as we imagine it.

The psychologist Jim Enns explains how our brains produce The Movie That Doesn't Seem Like A Movie. The fact that reality is a movie has important consequences for our personal and social lives, some of which are explored by the psychologists Edward Royzman, Kimberly Cassidy, and Jonathan Baron, and also by the psychologists Less Ross and Andy Ward. (By the way, near the end of their article, Royzman et al take a very clever whack at Nozick's experience machine argument from Chapter 2).

If people are naturally trapped in their own points of view, and if this is the basis of costly errors, then what kinds of individual remedies might we apply?

J. T. Enns, "What Vision Is Not," in The Thinking Eye, the Seeing Brain (New York: Norton, 2004), 4-13.

E. B. Royzman, K. W. Cassidy, and J. Baron, "I Know, You Know: Epistemic Egocentrism in Children and Adults," Review of General Psychology, 7, 38-65 (2003).

L. Ross and A. Ward, "Naive Realism in Everyday Life: Implications for Social Conflict and Misunderstanding," in Values and knowledge: The Jean Piaget series ed. E. S. Reed, E. Turiel, and T. Brown (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1996), 103-135.