The Present Hedonism Time Perspective of Motley Crue Members, Liberals, and Libertarians

I recently read the story of Motley Crue’s wild ride in the 80s-90s, most of which blends together into a mess of outrageous behavior, impulsiveness, and hedonism. They drank a lot, did a lot of drugs, and had a lot of sex. I was fascinated by it (enough to keep reading), but also disgusted as well. In the course of the book, they assaulted innocent commuters, killed someone by drunk driving, vandalized hotel rooms, and otherwise demonstrated no respect for anyone other than themselves.

It was hard to be sympathetic, but the closest I can come is to think of them as having a radically different time perspective than most people.  As Zimbardo says in the below video, addiction is related to a present hedonistic time perspective, and the members of Motley Crue certainly reaped what they sowed in terms of addiction.

The natural question that occurred to me was to determine the time perspective differences among liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. Unfortunately, I don’t have specific time perspective data, but I do have scores on the Hedonism dimension (e.g. how important is “Enjoying Life”?) of the Schwartz Values Scale in the chart below, which equates to Zimbardo’s Present-Hedonistic perspective.

Unsurprisingly, liberals and libertarians score the highest on hedonism scores.  Obviously, Motley Crue went overboard, but I don’t think hedonism is necessarily good or bad. Zimbardo’s work doesn’t say that any particular time perspective is superior, but rather that individuals should attempt to find a balanced time perspective.

In the same way, I would argue that the country needs a balanced time perspective, balancing respect for the past, enjoying the present, and considering the future.  Conservatives policies might leave us constantly growing our economy and military, so that we can ensure our future security, but perhaps at the expense of the current welfare of many, especially those individuals who are less productive or less fortunate. Liberal policies might ensure that all individuals have basic needs met and that society cares about the happiness of it’s citizens, but at the cost of preparing for the future. A balance of these concerns seems most prudent and perhaps appreciating the benefits of different time perspectives, as Zimbardo states at the end of his video, will allow us to make fewer negative attributions of those on the other side of the aisle….and maybe even of people as hedonistic as the members of Motley Crue.

- Ravi Iyer

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