I was most surprised when Professor Gilbert discussed that being able to predict what will happen in our lives does not guarantee happiness. The question of “what will happen to us?” is often easier to answer than “will I be happy when this event takes place?” He referred to an example of winning the lottery. People often inflate how happy they would be if they won the powerball, but we have seen many cases of depression after winning the grand prize. We often think our lives would be perfect if we could see what job we will get or who we will marry or how many kids we will have. However, we do not know how our future selves will feel when these events actually happen. This is quite surprising to me because I have previously fallen victim to this thought cycle. I often think “if I knew whether I would get this summer internship, I would be so much less stressed” or “If I knew that I would do well on this exam, I would be able to relax more.” This discussion changed how I view predictions of the future.
One question that people often ask is “if you could know when and how you will die, would you like to know?” I would like to ask Professor Gilbert how he thinks knowing this answer would affect us. Would it allow us to maximize the rest of our lives and make the most of it? Or would it be a burden that weighs us down in every facet of life? It is a scary question to think about and I personally don’t think I would want to know. However, Professor Gilbert may have some insight on this question and how humans would react if they knew this information.