36. Approaching life in the spirit of the proverb: “after us the deluge”

          Madame de Pompadour, a French aristocrat who was the courtesan of Louis XV, wrote “After us, the deluge. I care not what happens when I am dead and gone.” Cognitive psychology experiments on time discounting have shown that people strongly discount risks that apply only after their expected lifespan, or even earlier than that10. A "devil take all" attitude in the contexts of catastrophic risks could be rather dangerous, but some of it is inevitable. There is also the thought, "if I'm going to die, other people ought to die too," which actually enhances global risks rather than having a neutral effect.