stealing fire book review

stealing fire book review

The Power of “Stealing Fire”: A Persuasive Book Review

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1. Introduction: Unleashing the Potential of “Stealing Fire”

The words “unleash the potential” can be taken in many ways, but what the authors are effectively trying to make the reader aware of is the potential for humanity to “self-ameliorate,” i.e. improve without limit or cease in doing so. It is clearly conveyed that today’s society has a thirst for an improvement in one’s life and the lives of others. This has led to many seeking escape from the toil and despair of their lives – as much using self-improvement books from Amazon as “ex-athletes in pain clinics, survivors of trauma, and even busy moms.” This escape is pinpointed as the gateway to achieving a state of “ecstasy” mentioned above in the various tactics in the military and industry. The authors use Burning Man festival as a prime demonstration of this. It is a direct result of an increased urge to improve one’s state of being or situation and can be said to be a life-changing experience for those who attend. Step back and look at the bigger picture – are we not all seeking the most fundamental of human desires – to have a better life?

The authors highlight that despite this evolution, these moments of breakthrough are becoming increasingly more frequent. It is cited that our pace of change has led to the accumulation of seven “tectonic” changes in a period of just under 40 years. As one may know, change occurring at such a high frequency can be detrimental. It can lead to a loss of control and even worse, a search for a solution of control. It is this “solution” that the authors seek to unleash by making the readers aware of certain movements, such as the promotion of worker happiness in Silicon Valley or leadership in US army units. These movements have been strategies for obtaining the feelings of “ecstasy, harmony, and a commune with the eternal.”

The basis of this book is to embark upon the reality that mankind has over a period of time gone through an undeniable transformation in the way we live. This has predominantly occurred through what the authors refer to as a series of “tectonic” changes: a shift in the way we perceive things around us – such as the way we view the earth and our place in it or the fundamental discovery of farming.

2. Section One: The Quest for Altered States of Consciousness

This comes in a vast array of forms spanning activities as simple as sleeping and dreaming. Generally, sleeping is a palliative and rejuvenating activity, but it can also be an escape from the burden and impracticality of conscious waking thought. At other times, it offers enhanced solutions to life problems and it may also give way to lucid dreaming, conscious knowledge of the fact one is dreaming during the dream. This is considered another state altogether and its potential has been a long point of interest to various thinkers and persons of spiritual or mystic pursuits.

The state of altered consciousness has undergone much closer examination in recent years. The generally accepted definition of it is an experience – so compelling, so intrinsically rewarding – that it supplants the world view with its own, in a relatively brief but lasting fashion. It serves up its own reason for being, which the experiencer knows to be an illusion, but one which exerts an emotional fascination. constexpr indicates that reality testing is still in force and that the experience is not a psychosis. Experiences like this are felt to be beneficial to the individual experiencing them. Hormetic at its source, meaning that at the time of use there is a net benefit, it can lead to self-betterment in analysis and adaptation to the way of being that caused the experience. This can be a pursuit of faulty conscious activity to heal its source, for example, learning calm clarity after being perplexed and terrified by a complex and ambiguous issue. Any learning process in a clearer mental mode can also be facilitated or enhanced in the altered state and direct philosophical or analytical activity of.

3. Section Two: The Science Behind Flow States and Ecstasis

Ecstasis is, in essence, the elicitation of flow in a series, and in community. The ritual and rites surrounding the elicitation of ecstasis and the tales of the divine are the classical instances of this occurrence, but any good company bound for a grand adventure or great work, the close team on the heels of a breakthrough, or the new lovers touched by the daemonic, all in these are small ecstasies and they are all experiential phenomena that can be taken apart and accessed by the methods of today’s science. “Stealing Fire” makes the argument that the value of these states and the experiences they provide is so great, that we need to begin to look to taking ecstasy worldwide, to make humanity better on the whole. Now, it is undoubtedly true that there are some very gainful qualities of high mentality and creative force and some very real taste of the divine to be had in any kind of flow state. But it is also true that flow and ecstasis have often been linked to some of the self-destructive and world-changing behaviors. High men have often courted the Muses when the artwork an artist produced was not worth the human costs, and it is no actual jest that the chess player’s best possible games produced him brain damage. On a wider scope, the highs of all kinds have served as escapes from troubled existence.

Our world is riddled with myths on how to attain and gain access to the gods, the creative force, the higher realms. We now live in an age where the science of altered states is beginning to demystify what poets have long known. It is not only the Muses who are touched by divine madness. It is well known that many great artists and athletes have had their finest moments while in these states. Scientific creativity tests show that increased brain wave and hormonal activity, matched with lowered prefrontal cortex function and increased lateral thinking and associative thought. All of these are markers of an altered state, specifically the flow, the best known and most widely researched altered state experience. The Flow state is described as an optimal experience so focused and absorbed that it constitutes its own reward. Anyone who has experienced flow, whether it be in writing or painting, skiing, chess, rapping, has partaken in the global happening that prohibits interruption or delayed reward.

4. Section Three: Unconventional Methods for Accessing Peak Performance

Other methods mentioned to improve creativity were psychedelics and spiritual practices. The authors were quick to highlight that the use of these methods could be a risky strategy and it had varying effects on different people. It was also effective in showing the large contrast of effects both methods have on creativity. An example being the study on Siddhartha, where the Buddha obtained higher results of creativity through meditation than through spiritual rituals.

In this section, the trial and error of Jamie Wheal and Steve Kotler’s research is reiterated to guide the user through which methods are most effective and why. An effective method is known as the “flow cycle”. The basis behind this theory is that the induction of a flow state can be enhanced by premeditated methods to inspire deep creativity. This could be as simple as going for a walk or cooking a meal. However, to try and induce it is vital to escape one’s comfort zone with a chosen task of difficulty margins equal to your skill level and receive a sense of immediate results and feedback.

The third section is the pivot for the entire book. It explains what the authors term as an “end of entropy” attitude. This phrase signifies the adoption of minimal daily routine in order to leave the mind time to become bored, ultimately leading to a creative spark that revolutionizes the quality of the work.

5. Conclusion: Embracing the Fire Within and Igniting Your Potential

Most of us will live our lives being comfortable, taking no chances to do anything out of the ordinary, and doing everything in our power to remain just like everyone else. By doing this, we close ourselves off to so many opportunities and experiences that could really help us grow as people, and help us find and feel our true potential. Many people who have seen a glimpse of their inner greatness will feel that they were meant to do or be a part of something greater than themselves. Whether it was a personal goal, a dream, a cause, fighting for something, or just thinking to oneself after doing something great “I knew I was made to do this”. This inner calling is your “fire within”. Unfortunately, many of these people who have discerned what their “fire within” is truly meant for, have no idea how to go about achieving it, or even realizing it. This is what Perspectives Failure and Success is all about. Each of us has the power to realize our full potential and achieve greatness, if we only knew how to light the fire and follow it. In recent readings, we discussed a lot about finding new and innovative ways to solve today’s complex problems, providing the world with better answers and solutions to what they are looking for, and leaving positive change in our wakes. The Power of “Stealing Fire” does an excellent job of explaining what today’s real great thinkers and innovators are doing to achieve this. They are leaving the safety and refuge of traditional problem solving, to achieve their “fire within” and produce optimal results. These people are what authors of “Stealing Fire” so fondly refer to throughout the book, as the new “altered statesmen”.

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