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Buddhism and Longtermism are not Mutually Exclusive

Many people view Buddhism and Longtermism as two diametrically opposed philosophies. After all, Buddhism is all about living in the present moment, while Longtermism is all about making sacrifices today to improve the future. However, I believe that these two philosophies can work together quite well.

Here’s why: first, it’s important to remember that Buddhism is not just about living in the present moment. It’s also about compassion and altruism. One of the central tenets of Buddhism is the idea of karma, which teaches us that our actions have an impact not just on ourselves but on others as well. This principle can easily be applied to the idea of Longtermism. Let’s act in ways that are likely to improve the long-term. We will not only benefit future generations but also increase the overall happiness and well-being of all sentient beings.

Furthermore, both Longtermism and Buddhism strongly emphasize the importance of wisdom. To make sacrifices that will benefit the future, we need to clearly understand what will likely create the most favorable long-term outcomes. And to live in the present moment without getting caught up in our desires and fears, we need to develop a deep understanding of the nature of reality. Fortunately, many resources are available to help us develop these kinds of insights, including the teachings of the Buddha.

So, I believe that it is possible to practice Longtermism in a way that is consistent with the principles of Buddhism. By combining our wisdom with compassion and altruism, we can make sacrifices today to create a better future for all sentient beings.