1-Sentence-Summary: Stealing Fire examines how a state of ecstasy can enhance the body-brain connection and allow humans to achieve excellent performance by accelerating their neural processes.
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Throughout time, people have always been looking for ways to enhance their capabilities and better face the challenges that they come across. High performance is strongly linked to success, so everyone strives to achieve it. However, hard work and constant dedication are the only ways to become successful. Or are they?
Unorthodox methods and controversial approaches to solving problems and achieving high performances have started to become more and more popular among people. After all, everyone has heard of how Wall Street’s investors manage to achieve mind-blowing accomplishments in the stock market.
Therefore, the link between a state of ecstasy and high performances became a subject of interest for people and organizations worldwide. Moreover, some unconventional treatments, such as the use of drugs, have also started to become quite popular among clinical psychotherapy practices.
Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler explores how psychology, neurobiology, pharmacology, and technology can help us unlock our potential and live better, more fulfilling lives through an altered, enriched state of mind. As such, some unconventional methods can be used to boost our mind and allow it to make connections that it wouldn’t otherwise do.
Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:
- Hallucinogen drugs can help humans reach an ecstasis state of mind.
- Reaching a state of ecstasis is possible using the Hedonic Calendar and four forces.
- Newer technologies play an important role in achieving ecstasis.
Now, let’s explore these lessons in detail!
Lesson 1: Psychedelic substances trigger a state of consciousness in the human mind.
Plants and different animal substances can have incredible effects on the body and mind. Nature offers many sources of natural medication for the body. And along with them, many other substances appear to have a hallucinogenic effect on humans after ingestion.
As such, people have explored these substances throughout history, as they were fascinated about their incredible effects and the state of mind they were entering after consuming them. Some of their effects include an out-of-the-ordinary state of awakeness, pure consciousness, boosted energy, but also hallucinations.
Therefore, psychedelic drugs have been banned by most countries, as they are considered dangerous. Still, scientists have started to reconsider their benefits when it comes to the brain. As it turns out, some drugs can help with finding creative solutions for different problems, stepping out of one’s ordinary thinking, and making new connections instead.
So far, the studies conducted on those who used these substances reveal that, when it comes to teamwork, they can help with collective thinking and creating a super team. Moreover, they can help treat PTSD, depression and anxiety. For others, a spike in energy levels and skillfulness was found.
Lesson 2: Non-ordinary states of mind can be achieved using the Hedonic Calendar and four sciences.
People have been exploring ways to alter their consciousness and enter states of ecstasis since their discoveries. As such, some found out that meditation can help reach a state of mindfulness and reduce stress. Consequently, neurobiology practitioners discovered transcranial magnetic stimulation, which can cure depression.
In other fields, such as pharmacology, medical and recreational cannabis became more and more popular, thus becoming legal in many US states. Lastly, technology plays an important role in monitoring states of consciousness, as it can be used to measure your heartbeat levels, brainwaves, and many other metrics.
On the other hand, people are looking for easier ways to access ecstasis, through sex, drugs, or extreme sports. The Hedonic Calendar is a great way to determine when and how to get out of your own head. Start by determining which are your favorite activities. Then, assess them using the risk-reward ratio.
Sort out how frequently you want to do those activities. We’re talking about days, weeks, months or even seasons. Finally, find a way to combine these activities with the habits you already have. Be aware that you could easily become addicted to altering your consciousness, so take a month to quit these activities and avoid becoming dependent on the feelings derived from them.
Lesson 3: Technology can bring us close to a state of ecstasis and eliminate the risks associated with it.
People have discovered their preferred ways of getting out of their minds and altering their consciousness. As a result, they tend to keep on repeating those things in hope of prolonging their ecstasis. More often than not, the things they use to reach those states of mind are dangerous for them and can do more damage than good.
For example, many people find that drugs are one of the best ways to alter their reality. Therefore, many turn to them as often as they can. They risk their lives, put themselves in dangerous situations, and risk becoming addicted. Many start preferring this reality more than their day-to-day reality, which can be very damaging.
This is where technology steps in to help. A smart way of exploiting it can democratize and monitor the access to ecstasis, while making it safer and more accessible. How? Take the example of extreme sports. People practice it for the thrill, and some may even expose themselves to more risk by intentionally omitting safety procedures.
However, with the help of VR, indoor experiences can bring equal pleasure and thrill for extreme sports practitioners. SEAL Team Six has started to train using this technology, as it imitates reality perfectly. Another example of technology altering the state of reality can be transcranial stimulation.
Special devices can now deactivate certain parts of your brain and induce the effects of drinking a glass of wine, without you ever touching a sip. Moreover, it can help recreate post-meditation states of mind. Still, such technologies are still early on, and their effects can’t compare to real experiences yet. With further testing, scientists are positive that they will become a factor of change.
Stealing Fire Review
Stealing Fire is an informative piece on a controversial, yet increasingly popular topic nowadays. The authors present the revolutionary discoveries behind achieving states of ecstasis in a simple, yet illuminating manner. Reading this book can help you find practices that will stimulate your consciousness, create an impaired flow of creativity, and escape reality for a bit.
Who would I recommend the Stealing Fire summary to?
The 25-year-old tech employee who is passionate about newer inventions, the 45-year-old psychologist who wants to explore non-ordinary therapies and coping systems, and the 30-year-old professional who feels burnt out and wants to find ways to free their mind.
Last Updated on May 22, 2023