Notes on the ethics of mental time travel

Feeling sorry for yourself is usually regarded poorly. However, what about feeling sorry for your future self? Or your past self?

There seems to be a case for feeling sorry for and being nice to your future self, by planning and acting now (de Lazari-Radek, 2013). Economists describe not making provision for the future as “discounting the future”.

We know we will be rather different people in the future, but we still feel concern for our future self. I have seen jocular remarks made about how one’s “drunk self” has looked after one’s “sober self” by setting the alarm for him to get up. That is easy to understand. Feeling sorry for oneself further into the future is more of a mark of maturity. Very few 20 year olds are concerned with what life will be like for their 60 year old self. However, both empathy and a capacity to imagine oneself in the future are usually thought of as typically human. One of the advantages of empathy for others may include having empathy for one’s future self. Is a lack of empathy even for one’s future self part of what makes a person a psychopath?

Moreover, if it is somehow wrong and self-indulgent to feel sorry for ourselves when something goes wrong, perhaps we can more appropriately feel sorry for our past self, since he or she is to some extent a different person? It seems we may feel sorry for our ten year old self without being accused of self-pity.

Another question that has occurred to me is an ethical one. If, despite Ned Flanders of The Simpsons, it is not considered wrong to “lust after” one’s wife, is it nonetheless wrong to lust after one’s younger wife, for example in a photograph? Is she the same woman in the photograph as your present wife, or is she in some sense a different woman?


de Lazari-Radek, K. “Be nice to the tomorrow you”. New Philosopher Magazine, November 2013, 103.

Three tweets on “Audrey Rouget”‘s cameo in the film “The Last Days of Disco”

I have written extensively about the actress Carolyn Farina and her role as “Audrey Rouget”. In the first movie in which “Audrey Rouget” appeared, “Metropolitan”, she ends the movie in a relationship with “Tom Townsend”. In the second movie, “The Last Days of Disco, “Audrey Rouget” is rather older and “the youngest editor ever” at her publishing house. She is still “Audrey Rouget” and she is going to the disco with her friends.

What I tweeted in response:

“Yes, not a happy ending for Audrey, in my opinion. Even “youngest editors ever” need a cuddle.”

What I wrote previously about what happened to “Audrey”. The problem was not that she never became Mrs Tom Townsend. The problem was that she never became Mrs Anybody, it seems. Am I just hopelessly old-fashioned or romantic, or is that an unhappy ending for Audrey?

Dreamy World posters and “uplift”

I have written about “Dreamy World” images before.

I am curious about how they achieve their effect. I suggested that they provide images of “uplift” and “escape”. Here is a fine example of a poster that draws one’s eyes, and perhaps one’s spirits, literally upwards by providing both images of balloons and a compellingly large celestial object:


Other dreamy world images.

Modern Masculinity as “Costly Signalling”

I wrote this at an old post:

I have been thinking a bit more about what game really is, and it occurred to me that “resisting a shit test” might be described by an animal behaviour expert as a form of “costly signalling”. That is, if a man can handle a woman’s demands with aplomb, and not always do as she demands; and if he can ignore or cope with her shit tests; it shows that he is strong. He signals a capacity to handle an attack without being seriously damaged. If a woman screeches at you and nags, and you just laugh in her face, she is likely to think you are tough enough to handle her, and therefore anything else you might need to handle. It is a type of Costly Signalling:

I first made this point at the recent post by Athol Kay, here:

It occurred to me today that this could be extended. In short, one could see the entire expression of modern masculinity, that is masculinity under the current social discouragement, to be a form of costly signalling. “Costly signalling” is a term from strategic studies in relation to economics and especially animal behaviour, that means a signal of fitness or strength that is costly to make. One proposed “costly signal” is the peacock’s tail. The idea is that the tail is so dangerous and expensive to maintain that it gives a strongly virile signal. In a similar way, any man who is capable of retaining his masculinity under current social conditions has also displayed a strongly virile signal.

Any man who is able to show masculinity these days – that is, who has not been cowed by female relatives, acquaintances, or the popular culture – has shown that he is able to be masculine in highly adverse conditions. This is strong evidence of genuine masculinity, and it is no wonder that such men are at a premium among women.

“Where are they now?” – man and woman in an iconic music video.

This was just going to be a comment on this old post on this music video:

However, I decided it was worth a short post.

The couple running on the beach in the above classic music video were “Charlie” and “Claire”.

“Claire”, despite appearing in one of the most iconic of music videos, appears to have disappeared from sight. I can find nothing on her, not even her surname.

By contrast, the “Charlie” on the beach with her in the video appears to be Charlie or Charles Haugk, at least according to a site which I won’t give because it gave my computer a nasty popup demanding money. In any case, Charles Haugk went on to a career in Hollywood as a stunt man and actor, mostly in supporting roles (appearing in Predator 2, for example).

The first two sites give his birth year as 1953: the third as 1970. I suspect that 1953 is more likely, if he did in fact appear in the above “Boys of Summer” video, which appeared in 1984. Clearly 31 is a more likely age than 14! However 31 is a bit of a surprise itself. He and Claire may have been meant to be a bit more mature than I had realised; perhaps a young married couple, rather than young lovers?

I find it ironic that Charlie Haugk’s most significant achievement was probably appearing in a hypnotically beautiful sequence in one of the best-loved of music videos. The case of “Claire” is even more ironic. I can think of few more delightful examples of a woman running so lightly and elegantly “like a girl”. She bounds along like a gazelle. And yet, the woman herself has “vanished”. Presumably she was a model from an agency.

At Marc Tyler Nobleman’s site, his name is given as “Charlie Hawke”. I assume this was either a fairly understandable error or he used that name as well. (To add to the confusion, there IS another actor who goes by “Charlie Hawke”.) However I suspect the person listed first here may be the Charlie Haugk from the video:

The places he has lived, and the employment by “Spyglass Entertainment”, increase the likelihood. His age is given as 61, which is consistent with his year of birth being 1953.

This Malibu record is consistent:

According to other records, Charlie Haugk has worked on a number of movies in product placement. And this is interesting and amusing about his work with the Dell computer people:

“the company’s film role was at odds with its real-life image as a purveyor of inexpensive PC’s to the masses … In exchange for the mentions in “The Recruit,” Dell provided props and is promoting the movie on its Web site, said Charlie Haugk, director of product placement for Spyglass Entertainment, the film’s studio.”

Dell was also placed in a 2013 film, also on a spy theme, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit:


Our language for describing good women is now impoverished

In a generally competent review of the Whit Stillman film “Metropolitan”, the leading lady is described like this:

“Audrey is a smart, half-saucy, half-moralistic Jane Austen girl if there ever was one”

I have dutifully added this review to my bibliography of my long post on the short career of the actress who played Audrey. With this comment:

“Our language is so impoverished these days in describing virtuous women, because of the false dichotomy between “strong” and “feminine”, that the reviewer must stumble for words. It is pleasing to see him reach for “saucy”, a word now relegated largely to the jocular. However, I think Audrey is simply “female” in the best sense: with a feminine moral strength that does not preclude pertness.”

“What’s wrong with a novel having a virtuous heroine?!”

In his understated way, the director, Whit Stillman is trying to present women who are attractive and feminine with good minds and moral sense. Most especially with Audrey in his first film Metropolitan, but also to some extent in his most recent movie Damsels in Distress. I have discussed this further in the pages of the Oriens journal.

Nietzsche on possessing a woman

“The difference between men does not manifest itself only in the difference between the tables of the goods they possess but also in the fact that they consider different goods worth striving for and that they are at odds among themselves about what is more or less valuable, about the rank ordering of the commonly acknowledged goods – the difference becomes even clearer in what counts for them as really having and possessing something. So far as a woman is concerned, for example, a more modest man considers having at his disposal her body and sexual gratification as a satisfactory and sufficient sign of having, of possession. Another man, with his more suspicious and more discriminating thirst for possessions sees the “question mark,” the fact that such a possession is only apparent, and wants a more refined test, above all, to know whether the woman not only gives herself to him but also for his sake gives up what she has or would like to have. Only then does he consider her “possessed.” A third man, however, is at this point not yet finished with his suspicion and desire to possess. He asks himself if the woman, when she gives up everything for him, is not doing this for something like a phantom of himself: he wants to be well known first, fundamentally, even profoundly, in order to be able, in general, to be loved. He dares to allow himself to be revealed. – Only then does he feel that the loved one is fully in his possession, when she is no longer deceived about him, when she loves him just as much for his devilry and hidden insatiability as for his kindness, patience, and spirituality.”

Friedrich Nietzsche; Beyond Good and Evil.


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