When Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine, he refused to patent it—forgoing profit so that more lives could be saved. His radical generosity to future generations should inspire us, but leading philosopher Roman Krznaric sees the opposite happening: Our short-term, exploitative mindsets have “colonized the future,” leaving an inexcusable chasm between the haves and have-nots—and mounting existential threats—that have brought our species to the precipice of disaster.
Yet Krznaric sees reason to hope. The urgent struggle for intergenerational justice calls for hugely ambitious solutions, from rewiring our growth-at-all-costs economy to giving voters of future generations a voice in our democracies. But at the heart of all these changes is one we can enact within ourselves: We must trade shortsightedness for long-term thinking. In The Good Ancestor, Krznaric reveals six practical ways we can retrain our brains to think of the long view and to shift our allegiance from this generation to all humanity—to save our planet and our future.
About the author
Roman Krznaric is a public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society. His books include Empathy, The Wonderbox, and Carpe Diem, and have been published in more than twenty languages. He studied at the Universities of Oxford, London, and Essex, where he received his PhD. He is a founding faculty member of The School of Life and is based in the UK.