Against the Odds: Why We All Live for a Future We Can’t Control Big Think

November 27, 2017 by Laura Gomez

Living in the moment is an exception, not the rule. So why do we invest so much energy into a future we can’t predict, control, or anticipate? It turns out our happiness may depend on it. There is something deeply biological about our ability, and our need, to control the future. Despite the fact that the future is precisely what foils our most carefully laid plans, we go on planning for it. An emphasis on future planning is even a vital part of raising children. A great deal of our own well being depends on grooming future generations to hope, to anticipate, to plan.This video is part of a collaborative series with the Hope & Optimism initiative, which has supported interdisciplinary academic research into under-explored aspects of hope and optimism. Discover more at

Victoria McGeer is a research scholar and lecturer at Princeton University. She took her B.A. in Philosophy and Government at Dartmouth College and her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Toronto. She specializes in the philosophy of language and more prominently in the philosophy of mind.

In 1992, she took up a position as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, but took leave of absence shortly thereafter in order to do further postdoctoral work in Alison Gopnik’s developmental psychology laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley (funded under an award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada).

McGeer decided to leave her teaching position at Vanderbilt in 1998 in order to pursue further interdisciplinary work as an independent scholar, and in 2000 was appointed as a Senior Member of the McDonnell Project on Philosophy and the Neurosciences (led by Professor Kathleen Akins). In 2004 she was appointed Research Scholar at the University Center for Human Values and Lecturer in the Dept. of Philosophy at Princeton University, receiving tenure in 2007.

Victoria McGeer
Research Scholar, Princeton University

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