Levels of Reality and Meaning

Human beings have the ability to transcend from one layer of reality to the next, but what do we do about that? 

We have our most basic level, which is basically survival. This level involves food, sex, shelter, clothing etc. These are our basic physiological needs. It’s pretty rough to get stuck at this level of reality for any length of time. We are always drifting in and out of this level because of our hunger and sexual tendencies, but it’s not a nice place to live.

The second level seems to be something like love, or information, or the necessity to keep your basic needs organized. It may well depend on the individual. Some people find joy in information and read and gather lots of information, others find the second level through athletics. I think the second level is something like – figuring out how to interact with the world you live in, it is very self-centered and introspective. This seems to be the next step above our basic physiological needs because, you obviously need to know how to act if you are going to live fully as the creature that you are in the world. 

Well, what’s the next step? Let’s hold on a minute to say that the second step, information/athletics/stuff to help you act in the world, may very well be separated into multiple levels. Some people recognize the relevance of information but not athletics, some people recognize art but not mathematics etc. etc. I’m saying that it’s possible that there could be multiple levels within this levels, or it may be the case that it is simply a vast level. Probably generalized by exploration of the environment and information.

The third level is something like belonging, and placement. Possibly love could fit into this category, but I’m not so sure, at least not the type of love I’m thinking of, which is more like altruistic behaviour. Belonging is like specifying your studies to find your niche. This level of reality involves finding your place and flourishing within it. It is the level above learning to interact with the world around you, it is the level of interest. Satisfying your interests can be extremely meaningful, because it seems to provide the necessary information to move forward to the next step, which is a key component the theory.

The fourth level is something like bringing about your vision. So you know how to interact with the world, you’ve satisfied your interest, now you may have a vision which you can bring into the world, something that you wish to see happen. This level is even more satisfying than fulfilling your interests because you are actively participating in the bringing forth of your interests into the world. 

For theoretical purposes let’s say that this individual climbing the hierarchy of meaning lives forever, that way we can see how high we can climb without the obvious limitations of time. 

The fifth level, once your needs are taken care of, you know how to interact with the world, you’ve satisfied your interests and you know where you belong, now you have brought forth a vision into reality, the fifth level seems to be familial and loving. The fifth level can be cultivated along side the other levels, you can jump up to this level, but it seems to me that if you truly want to invest and live here, you must first satisfy the previous needs, because if you are truly going to bring children into the world and raise them well, and you want to be able to cultivate a great relationship with your spouse, you need time and energy. 

The sixth level is the level of spirituality or metaphysics, also commonly excessed in a non-linear fashion. People bounce up to this level all the time and ask questions such as what is the meaning of life? Or what is the relevance of my current eating of food to the seemingly infinite nature of the universe? The conflicts between this level and all the others seem to be a source of meaninglessness, which is unfortunate because this level seems to be the most meaningful that there is, the issue is that maybe we haven’t truly arrived here yet? Maybe we haven’t really earned the right to question the ultimate purpose of the universe when we are sitting in shop class with a grumbly stomach? Maybe we ought to climb our way to this level of relevance? And maybe I’m missing a whole bunch of levels! Maybe there is a need for exploration of the universe and understanding how the whole thing works, and then maybe we can contemplate its purpose… It’s a strange world we live in… look, now I’ve gotten stuck on the 6th level!

Hustle it up!

2 thoughts on “Levels of Reality and Meaning”

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