Front Page Titles (by Subject) Anticipated Feeling. - The Theory of Political Economy
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Anticipated Feeling. - William Stanley Jevons, The Theory of Political Economy 
The Theory of Political Economy (London: Macmillan, 1888) 3rd ed.
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Bentham has stated2 that one of the main elements in estimating the force of a pleasure or pain is its propinquity or remoteness. It is certain that a very large part of what we experience in life depends not on the actual circumstances of the moment so much as on the anticipation of future events. As Mr. Bain says,1 "The foretaste of pleasure is pleasure begun: every actual delight casts before it a corresponding ideal." Every one must have felt that the enjoyment actually experienced at any moment is but limited in amount, and usually fails to answer to the anticipations which have been formed. "Man never is but always to be blest" is a correct description of our ordinary state of mind; and there is little doubt that, in minds of much intelligence and foresight, the greatest force of feeling and motive arises from the anticipation of a long-continued future.
Now, between the actual amount of feeling anticipated and that which is felt there must be some natural relation, very variable no doubt according to circumstances, the intellectual standing of the race, or the character of the individual; and yet subject to some general laws of variation. The intensity of present anticipated feeling must, to use a mathematical expression, be some function of the future actual feeling and of the intervening time, and it must increase as we approach the moment of realisation. The change, again, must be less rapid the farther we are from the moment, and more rapid as we come nearer to it. An event which is to happen a year hence affects us on the average about as much one day as another; but an event of importance, which is to take place three days hence, will probably affect us on each of the intervening days more acutely than the last.
This power of anticipation must have a large influence in Economics; for upon it is based all accumulation of stocks of commodity to be consumed at a future time. That class or race of men who have the most foresight will work most for the future. The untutored savage, like the child, is wholly occupied with the pleasures and the troubles of the moment; the morrow is dimly felt; the limit of his horizon is but a few days off. The wants of a future year, or of a lifetime, are wholly unforeseen. But, in a state of civilisation, a vague though powerful feeling of the future is the main incentive to industry and saving. The cares of the moment are but ripples on the tide of achievement and hope. We may safely call that man happy who, however lowly his position and limited his possessions, can always hope for more than he has, and can feel that every moment of exertion tends to realise his aspirations. He, on the contrary, who seizes the enjoyment of the passing moment without regard to coming times, must discover sooner or later that his stock of pleasure is on the wane, and that even hope begins to fail.
[]See above, p. 28.
[]The Emotions and the Will, 1st ed., p. 74.