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Daniel Gilbert is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. His research with Tim Wilson on "affective forecasting" investigates how and how well people can make predictions about[…]

We don’t have everything we want, but we sure have a lot, says Dan Gilbert.

Question: Are our problems a result of not living in the moment?

Dan Gilbert: I think most of the large issues of our day have to do with us living in the moment. Most of the problems that we’re creating for ourselves and for future generations are a result of us feeling perfectly happy right now. We’re a country of fat and happy people. Our malls are a wonderful place to go and consume and buy. We don’t have everything we want, but we sure have a lot. And we’re not giving a lot of thought to our future selves … how we will retire, whether we’ll be well. We’re giving even less thought to our future generations … what’s going to happen for our children and for our grandchildren. So I know it’s pretty popular to say that we should “spend every moment as though it were our last”. I think it’s a horrible prescription for life. I think we should spend every moment as though we were going to live forever.

Recorded on: 6/12/07