Conference 2013: Clayton and Wilkins abstract. A fish out of water and temporal myopia
Clayton & Wilkins. “There is a bit of Hubris in everyone. One might wonder why that is? It can be argued that we place too much importance on the self in the current moment – in the present. This is ‘temporal myopia’.
Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins
There is a bit of Hubris in everyone. One might wonder why that is? It can be argued that we place too much importance on the self in the current moment – in the present. In fact we make a number of systematic blunders when we try to imagine our personal or corporate futures, ones that say quite a lot about how the human brain works. These errors revolve around the notion that we overvalue the present when making decisions about the future. We assume that what we feel as we imagine the future is what we will experience when we get there, but in fact, our sensations as we imagine the future are often our response to what’s happening in the present. We call this phenomenon ‘temporal myopia’ – it is a short sightedness that affects our ability to project the self in time, a phenomenon that can’t easily be corrected by a pair of glasses.
Arguably many of the pitfalls and perils of hubris can be associated with such myopia. Can it be avoided – is there a way around the issue? Intriguingly crows don’t make such mistakes. These birds hide food for the future and can anticipate accurately what they will want when they come to recover their caches of stashed food. They can disengage from their present motivational state when choosing for tomorrow.
It’s a skill every CEO in the land ought to have.
Got an opinion? Leave a comment below.
About: Professor Nicola Clayton
Scientist and Dancer
Nicky is the Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Clare College. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2010. She is also Scientist in Residence at Rambert, previously known as the Rambert Dance Company and Ballet Rambert.
Her most recent collaboration with artist Clive Wilkins arose out of their mutual interest in imagination, and its consequences for consciousness, identity and memory. They also regularly dance tango together. Nicky and Clive have a blog site describing their work at http://claytonwilkins.wordpress.com
About: Clive Wilkins
Artist and Writer
Clive is a fine art painter. He has exhibited widely, including at the National Portrait Gallery, London, at the Royal Academy and in private galleries in Cork Street, London – where he had a one man show in 2007. His work can be found in public and private collections. Clive has produced portraits of Sir Howard Hodgkin and Sir Peter Blake amongst others and has been presented publicly to HRH Princess Royal.
His current project, ‘Moustachio’, is a novel in four parts. It explores imagination and questions aspects of consciousness and reality amidst the miasma of being.