The Next Level. [Weekly Head Voices #22]

Due to the sleep- and concentration disrupting side-effects of a recent fantastic and life-changing event, I have skipped two editions of the Weekly Head Voices.  You’re going to have to bear with me, as it might happen again more than once in the coming months, whilst the ramification of aforementioned event matures some more and finally decides that those funny hairy creatures often occupying the same spaces that she does do deserve some rest.  Sometimes.

This edition of the Weekly Head Voices is almost 100% backyard philosophy, and more specifically is concerned with the meta-physical state some (language NSFW), in a brilliant exercise in post-modernistic satire, call The Next Level.  Let’s take a gentle start.

First have a look at this mobile phone:

The phone is not only glaring at a Rubik’s Cube, but IT’S PHYSICALLY SOLVING THE THING without even breaking a sweat, or begging for a battery recharge.  This phone has clearly reached the Next Level (of phones).

Then check out this robot:

Yes people, the robot is able to move by HAPPILY BALANCING ON A BALL, even recovering from a shove by its future human slave. That’s pure robot hardcore, and definitely a robot that’s reached the Next Level.

Humans have a next level too. Because we currently seem to be by far the dominant life-form on our sensory horizons, striving for this is a slightly more complex endeavour than being able to balance on a ball like that robot.  So how can we strive for the next level?

For a start, take a look at this list of cognitive biases on wikipedia. In essence, most humans are basically walking meat bags filled with misunderstandings, and convinced that they’re not. Related to this, and funny in a tragic kind of way, is the Dunning-Kruger effect, which boils down to the fact that people who are incompetent, are by nature even less capable of recognising their own incompetence (vaccine / main-stream health denialists and climate change denialists are textbook cases of this). In any case, one would be taking a really big step up the ladder to the next level if one were to memorise the list of cognitive biases above, and were to work really hard every day at trying to compensate for some of these effects in oneself.

Generalising this idea, I think a really great life philosophy is simply to strive every day to be better at something than you were the day before: Cycle a bit faster, remember better, think and see more clearly, be kinder. If one were to keep this up throughout one’s life, one will probably end up in a Very Good Place (philosophically that is).

Something else that one can try to practise in one’s journey to the mythical next level is meditation.  A friend recently posted the following Google TechTalk by Philippe Goldin on the neuroscience behind mindfulness meditation.  It’s 50 minutes long, so feel free to watch it after you finish reading this post:

I wasn’t aware that what I was doing in essence comes down to mindfulness meditation.  In contrast to concentration meditation, where the goal is focusing on the same thing (a mantra, an object) the whole time, mindfulness is about opening the mind and letting the now flow in, appreciating and mentally tasting it without judging.  Although alternative health sites already claim the world (as with all things alternative health, you should ignore these without hesitation), science is cautiously optimistic about the effects of mindfulness, in spite of the sub-standard quality of many of the studies.  There do seem to be definite personal benefits, and personally I am of the opinion that any form of regular meditation or focused self-reflection is an important catalyst in striving for the next level.

The same phenomenon currently disrupting my sleep and concentration, is very much related to this whole discussion, and probably caused it. Whilst it has justifiably been remarked that the act of procreation certainly doesn’t require a rocket scientist (on the contrary, sometimes), helping to sculpt the initial result into a potentially next level human being is an exquisite form of art that requires decennia for the completion of a single piece.

Thank you for stopping by to hear me ramble on, and please turn this into a real discussion by leaving a comment!