Wisdom Augmentation

Dear friend,

I’m studying a lot of AI, and have been philosophizing (my entire life) about technology-human integration.

A realization today:

We are seeking to ‘augment our intelligence’ with technology, yet what I think we really want to do is to augment our wisdom!


Wisdom Augmentation

Information vs Knowledge vs Wisdom

This is my ‘information hierarchy’:

First of all, this generalized concept of “information”. But most information is toxic and not useful to us.

Secondly, there is “knowledge” — ideas which are empowering and helpful to us in our everyday lives.

Thirdly (the apex) is wisdom. Wisdom is what we are really seeking. Wisdom will tell us how to live our lives to our personal maximum, and wisdom will guide our lives to dictate our own self-appointed goals in life!

Does this augment my wisdom or not?

So this is a practical idea to think about:

Will this technology, concept, or approach help augment my wisdom or not?

Use this simple mental framework as a simple ‘heuristic’ (rule of thumb) when making decisions in your everyday life.

Practical ideas

For example:

  1. When I go walk around the block to let my mind wander and come up with ideas, I generally do it without headphones on, and without a phone in my pocket. Letting my mind wander while walking allows enough empty space in my mind, to let wise ideas enter my mind. Often when I listen to music during this ‘idea generation’ phase, I don’t get any ideas.
  2. When I have an idea in my mind that I am very excited to write about, then I put on my headphones, listen to some Eminem, and then start churning out the words on IA WRITER (full-screen in focus mode).
  3. I then take lots of breaks after I’m done working– going to the gym to do deadlifts, meet friends, read books, and consume media which I think will help me become wiser.

What is wisdom?

There are a billion ways to define ‘wisdom’, and I don’t think we will (ever) have a definitive answer.

This is my personal thoughts on wisdom:

  1. First of all, your wisdom must profit you in some practical way in your real-life, and your everyday life.
  2. Wisdom is learned via trial and error.
  3. Wisdom helps us make wiser decisions that will benefit us and empower us and others.
  4. Wisdom is very difficult to attain, and is a constant process.
  5. Wisdom is not a final state; wisdom is a state of ‘becoming‘. Wisdom is like a muscle — you must keep training your wisdom-muscle to get stronger, and stay strong.

How to become wise

Kyoto Zen temple, 2017

First of all, you must become wise according to your own eyes, for your own purposes. For all of us, ‘wisdom’ will mean something different, and will affect us differently.

I cannot speak for you, but let me share what has worked for me:

  1. Conquer fear by studying Stoicism: I recommend Seneca, Nassim Taleb, Montaigne, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Diogenes, and Epicurus.
  2. Start to unlearn bullshit you’ve been domesticated with from ‘standard’ education: To be honest, it took me nearly 10 years to “unlearn” all this superfluous bullshit from my mind. I actually feel that I gain more wisdom as I become more “child-like“, and more of a “blank slate”. Much of wisdom comes to us ‘via negativa’ in Nassim Taleb’s words– you become wiser by REMOVING nonsense ideas.
  3. Start to accumulate wisdom, and continue to challenge ideas, and prune ideas, and never stop learning and growing. This is the fun part– let yourself be promiscuous, and challenge all your beliefs. Challenge your notions of morality, ethics (Nietzsche’s books on ‘Beyond and Evil’, ‘Antichrist’, and ‘The Will to Power’ are my favorites). Also become more skeptical about knowledge by studying this notion of ‘falsification’ by Karl Popper, and allow yourself to follow your intellectual curiosity.
  4. Share your ideas: I find that writing is the best way to think. I ultimately write to benefit others; but the benefit of writing is that I better understand my ideas, and I internalize them and apply these concepts to my own life. Remember the saying: “When one teaches, two learn.
  5. Keep challenging your ideas in your own head, and debate your ideas with other people who you can ‘intellectually spar’ with. To me, I get the greatest social joy from mental debating– sharing epic ideas, and challenging myself.

Never stop learning!


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