Stealing Fire- Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal
Stealing Fire is a look at the state of Ecstasis and gets its name from an allusion to Prometheus - the titan who stole fire from the Olympian gods and gave it to humans, thus sparking the progress of civilization.
Ecstasis is the act of “stepping beyond oneself” and refers to experiences of the subconscious mind taking over our everyday consciousness. Ecstasis was traditionally achieved through long-term contemplative practices and also a rich history of animals consuming psychoactive plants. It is hypothesized that the consumption of these plants and fungi has been involved in the progress of human evolution and been critical to our development of cognition.
Stealing Fire breaks down the ecstatic state into the four components of the STER experience - selflessness, timeless, effortlessness, and richness and explores its relationship to the flow state and the neurobiology behind it. The book then explores the different methods of achieving ecstatic states including new technologies that are breaking through the mystery and the taboos of exploring altered states.
This is an extremely interesting read and has a lot of value to some of the changes in legislature being made in North America currently. While many people will be exploring Michael Pollan’s newest book on this subject, “How To Change Your Mind,” I think that Stealing Fire published a few years ago, is an interesting parallel to explore on the subject of altered states.
Life Value: 4/5
Entertainment Value 5/5