Hacking the Flow State For Capitalistic Purposes

Though it is an ancient teaching of Taoism, and though metaphysical subjects are often dissed in today’s materialist-world “science-based” society, “the flow state” is embraced, and efforts to harness this power are currently in vogue. Corporations, silicon valley businesses, Wall Street, and young venture capitalists all wish to utilize the advantages of it, and the capitalistic “edge” it might offer them. The flow state is when a person becomes so immersed in an activity such as running or creating art, for examples, that time slows down while in complete focus upon the activity of the moment.

In this talk, Kotler describes how Jeff Bezos has institutionalized “yes” into the world of Amazon. When a new idea is presented, it must always be followed by a yes to see where it leads. Google offers twenty percent free time to employees to use as they self direct, embracing the flow state. A six week program requiring one hour a day of learning about getting into the flow state for Google employees increased productivity 35-80%, according to Kotler.  

Navy Seals are taught using flow state principles.

Kotler praises Montessori education as embracing flow and the students excel. They embrace autonomy, uninterrupted concentration, and deep embodiment, or emphasis on learning by doing.

Adventure sport athletes are a good example of using massive amounts of flow using passion, risk, and with clear goals. 

Next, he gets into what silicon valley does best: HACKS THINGS.

He says that things are starting to move a lot faster combining fields of psychology, neurobiology, pharmacology, and technology. He talks about how with pharmacology we can get to the flow state very, very quickly. He mentions the power of communitas, which is the effect of a large group merging attention resulting in energy being amplified into the effect of flow. (Healing circles are utilize this all the time.)  He describes transcranial magnetic stimulation, used by radar operators for the US air force. This technology shoots a weak magnetic pulse through the cerebral frontal cortex which artificially stimulates flow and lasts 20-40 minutes. Stockbrokers use it before going onto the floor. It can put users into the deep now, and can also be used to treat depression and anxiety. Then, he speaks of the Univ. of Wisconsin studies on Tibetan buddhists who have spent 30,000 hours, or 3 decades of life in meditation. Labs using neurofeedback with sensors, can then compress what used to take 30 years by Tibetans into 6 weeks of training for Americans. They’ve further shrunk focused meditation down to 4 days — what used to take 30 years. And, through online testing of thousands of people, they’ve found that flow is utilized by those doing knowledge work, or using their brains in work and in daily life. Which is what many Westerners have already been doing with their work life and time.

Isn’t it ironic that techies want to harness this flow state for their advantage, while the product that they deliver to the masses does the opposite? It fragments the attention into disruption of flow state power. It shortens attention spans of all ages. It decreases our ability to focus. Hmmm. 

From youtube: How To Get Into The Flow State | Steven Kotler. Feb 19, 2019 Steven Kotler, author of Mindvalley’s ‘The Habit of Ferocity’ talks at A-Fest Jamaica about flow and how it can create peak performers. Ignite your highest potential in your work and passions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s