Imagine walking into a vast room, set up sort of like the Imperial Senate in Star Wars:
The room stretches away further than the eye can see. There are millions of seats surrounding the central podium in every direction, each occupied by someone staring down at the current speaker.
This is my philosophy. Every human being changes a little bit every day, sometimes we change a lot. Through the course of a lifetime, we can recognize unique people. For myself, the person I am today is very different than the person I was at 23, and the person I was at 23 was very different than the 17 year old, who was very different from the 13 year old, who was very different from the 10 year old. I think that even day to day we are different people, just very slightly changed. Even inside of the same day, we are different by a tiny amount. It is an illusion our brains create that there is continuity of consciousness. Scientists have run experiments suppressing certain parts of the brain and what happens is people have many different voices from different parts of their brain at different times all competing.
All of the seats are occupied by different versions of myself. Countless past versions of myself that have had their time in the sun all watch down on the Joel of the present at the center of the stage. There are other versions of myself who are yet to be – these are enormous in numbers as there are many branching possibilities and opportunities open for different versions of me to come about. For example, there’s the potential versions of Joel who start drinking heavily and doing drugs every day till they die a few years down the line. There are the potential versions of Joel that work 16 hours a day every day for fifty years and make every lucky decision possible and build the largest company on the planet. And there are countless version in between including ones who die in a car accident tomorrow.
The person who is the Joel of the present is not just doing his own thing… he has responsibility to the millions of different people that were the past Joels (some of who sacrificed for the future, some of who were hedonistic in their presents). The Joel of the present also has responsibility to the future versions of Joel. Every decision I make today will close off doors and pathways that could have happened.
My philosophy is that when I make good decisions in the present that make past Joels proud and provide for a better life for future Joels, there is a massive arena filled with very happy and very proud Joels cheering me on. When I make bad decisions, there are countless Joels who are disappointed.
My goal is to do things that lead to a good life, balancing family, work, colleagues, lifelong learning, and things like that.