Levels of Human Development

There are several levels of human development. On the first and most primitive level, people are besieged with anxiety. The world is complicated and scary. They don’t know what to make of it and lack intellectual capacity to come up with an explanation. All they can do is feel anxious and periodically lash out in anger. They move from anxiety to rage to despair and then do the same all over again.

On the second level, we have people who intuit that this is no way to live. They find an idea, a system of belief that exists in the world and get completely invested into it. This idea becomes their bulwark against anxiety. An example is those health-obsessed folks who are constantly at the gym, posting endless videos of their workouts, their bicep measurements, and the recipes for their protein smoothies. They are happier than the first-level folks because they don’t feel as much anxiety and rage (unless somebody criticizes their hobby horse). Of course, they pay a price for the relief they achieve. Their whole life becomes dedicated to this single obsession. Like those Bitcoin fanatics who bark “buy Bitcoin!” whenever anything anxiety-producing is discussed. Still, it’s better to be into workouts or Bitcoin than simply sit there, feeling scared and angry all the time.

On the third level, we have people who have some capacity for abstract thought, which is even rarer. They try to come up with an explanation for why they feel scared. It’s going to be a more complicated system of belief that is based on the idea that something is wrong with how the world works. If that defect were removed, so would their anxiety. These are the people who attribute their anxiety to climate change, structural racism, the gender binary, etc. The problems they choose as an explanation for the terror they feel are unsolvable on purpose. If these problems were solved, the people in question would find that the anxiety is still there. And then what would they do?

The good news is that there are more levels and I’ll describe them soon.


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