Ignoring paradoxes and the like, imagine your future self walks into the room, provides overwhelming evidence that they are in fact a future incarnation of you.

They then tell you to do something you would NEVER decide to do on your own (e.g. quit your awesome job, divorce your wonderful spouse, murder someone, poke out your own eyes, take your pick). They promise that it will all work out for the best if you.

Do you do it? Do you trust yourself?

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For the lower end of tasks (quitting a job, committing some minor crime), I can probably say I would.

For the upper end? Fuck man.... I don't think I could take that kind of shit on faith.

@saramg I like to think I'd be all "heck no, I need to make my own mistakes" but that stuff breaks yer braaaaaain

@saramg I mean, some of those upper end things I'd totally be "you first."

@saramg IF they're literally me, why would I not trust them? I hope I have my own best intentions in mind.

@wholemilk That's the crux. Every logical argument says: "It's you, trust you." But if you are saying " commit permanent self harm ", then that creates a pretty strong counter argument.

@saramg I don't see how they could possibly know it would work out. Sounds like the usual "don't do what I did" crap you get from your parents.

@deshipu Let's imagine they've got Doctor Strange powers and they saw all the possible timelines?

@saramg We can do eat easier. My doctor tells me I have too high blood pressure and cholesterol. With his not-strange doctor powers he can tell that I will be much better off if I change my diet and do some sports. Do I listen to him?

@deshipu That's a less frought question though, by doing as he says, the only person you're impacting is yourself. You "harm" yourself by denying yourself pleasures and enforcing exercise, and you "help" yourself in better health.

My question is more extreme. The harm is potentially much more permanent and severe, and potentially not just to the self, while the benefit is undefined, only a promise of "we'll appreciate this later" coming from a supposedly unimpeachable source.

@saramg my bad health and constant tiredness actually hurts a lot of people around me, especially the ones I care about it, so I think it's actually pretty serious

I don't believe in "unimpeachable sources", especially when it comes to deciding what is good for me.

@saramg On the other hand, I did go through a couple of extreme changes in my life like the ones you suggest, and the only regret I have for them is "why didn't I do it earlier". So there is that.

Which reminds me that I should probably quit my job. Like, six years ago.

@deshipu I know what you mean.
At this point in my life, quitting a job feels like extreme low end of the risk scale. I've never regretted leaving any job ever, but I've always been terrified to.


See, I was going to go back in time and tell younger me to [redacted] but then future me appeared and told me not to.


('Cuz I (over)think about this stuff probably too much and the thing is that even the stuff I did that I now recognise as a mistake isn't so bad that I wouldn't know if doing it differently wouldn't be a net loss.

Really, all I would tell younger me is "[relationship] wasn't really working and had no future" and "get tested for ADHD.")

@saramg the initial thought that comes to mind is that I don’t trust *causality.* assuming I trust that good things happened to this person, I don’t know that this specific decision will guarantee it. Can the future be changed? The Terminator has been absolutely no help to me in this regard.

@CodingItWrong Assume future you is also Doctor Strange and has not only seen all the timelines, but knows exactly what will happen in this one.

@CodingItWrong Past me was pretty sus, I can only assume future me is as well.

@saramg hell yes, I'd be a fool to ignore future me. Present me doesn't have a sodding clue what to do. I want future me to just tell me what to do all the time!

@saramg so this is a scenario where the future me is able to incontrovertibly prove it's me and instructs me to do something drastic but is not providing a rationale? Is that a technical limitation or even after I ask for a rationale, I'm told that knowing the rationale undoes the scheme somehow?

Assuming future me refuses to tell me, it might be a scenario where I've turned evil in the future and trapping myself in a deterministic loop... I refuse to do it.

@saramg but future me knows that's how I would react so maybe it's reverse psychology. I get stuck in a game theory paralysis through analysis downward spiral and that implosion gives rise to time travel.

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