the arrow

I’ve just finished reading Roman Krznaric’s utterly inspiring book The Good Ancestor. It’s a book about deep time and long-term thinking. Here’s one moment that I found to be beautiful in how we might understand responsibility (both spatially and in time):

The Arrow concerns the extent to which we are responsible for the future consequences of our actions. One of its best-known formulations appears in the writing of philosopher Derek Parfit:

Remoteness in time has, in itself, no more significance than remoteness in space. Suppose that I shoot some arrow into a distant wood, where it wounds some person. If I should have known that there might be someone in this wood, I am guilty of gross negligence. Because this person is far away, I cannot identify the person whom I harm. But this is no excuse. Nor is it any excuse that this person is far away. We should make the same claims about effects on people who are temporally remote.

– Parfit, in Krznaric, p.81

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