The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.
Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. As Kruger and Dunning conclude, “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others”.
— Lao Zi
— John Steinbeck
— Channing Pollock
It’s 6:53 am and I’m listening to the final mixes of the yet-to-be-released Ha Ha Tonka record. I’m too familiar with these mixes… as I’ve been listening to them for the past 2 months…. or was it 6 months…… Regardless, somehow this is my job, and right now I’m feeling a euphoric sense of accomplishment I’m not used to feeling.
The record is damn good, and all involved put in a great deal of work up to this point. Everyone deserves a good pat on the back. Great pep talk.
The record is a vehicle… it got me reflecting on the past 20 years of my life and my consistent involvement with music over that time. All of those 20 years contributed to their album, will contribute to the upcoming Antennas Up album, and will contribute to anything I’m involved with afterwards.
All that seems obvious when it’s written out. It sounds like we’ve entered amateur philosophy hour with The Ryantist. But let’s skip that kind of analysis… because the feeling of 20 years happening in one moment is more than overwhelming… especially if it happens at a time when you’ve pushed your body into exhaustion. At a certain point of sleeplessness, there is no more logic. The analytical brain shuts down, the abstract brain takes over, and there is this feeling of connection with everything that has ever happened in your life. You may know this feeling, and if you do, you know that there is no way to describe it, and no predictable way to repeat it, but it is an intensely beautiful feeling. The closest I can get to sharing the feeling is to say that I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to focus on music for what has been 2/3rds of my life so far, and to have support from so many close friends and family.
So the euphoria isn’t just about the record, if you haven’t figured that out yet.
Also, In case you didn’t know, lack of sleep and a diet of coffee can give you heart palpitations.
The cool part is, after I felt the heart palpitations, I had the opportunity to play a halloween show with Antennas Up and the late Katy Perry.
Katy Perry is not actually dead, and neither are you. But for those who are dead and reading this, I think it’s likely that you’re in hell, and this blog is a large part of your eternal suffering.
At the halloween show, still exhausted, I again had this revelation that music is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, no matter how hard I had pushed my body past it’s limits prior to, and throughout the show. It didn’t matter that, despite warming up and stretching, my hands sometimes go numb due to carpal tunnel and guyon’s canal syndrome. It didn’t matter that I now have the high frequency hearing loss of the average 60-year-old despite wearing ear protection religiously.
I’d rather hit things with sticks while making hideous faces, than to do anything else in this world. If that means that I’m killing myself in the process, losing sleep, stressing my heart, damaging the nerves in my hands, and damaging my hearing, then so be it. What good is perfect hearing and nerve function if I never use it?
I’m going to die; I have no choice. But I can choose to live. And I’m damn lucky to have the opportunity to live as a musician… immersed in a community of supportive musicians/photographers/writers/artists. It doesn’t get much better than that.
As the fortune from my inexpensive chinese meal states, “Life is a play. It’s not its length, but its performance that counts.” That’s some great wisdom. Unfortunately, the cookie was stale, and far from great.