This year has been one of massive new output and articulation of laying out the building blocks of transformational culture architecture.
For all intents, peak states protocols have been thoroughly sorted and is no longer the rate limiter for our collective level-up. We are still actively on the hunt for an integrated model of trauma/catharsis (stay tuned for updates on our Johns Hopkins PTSD/Breathwork study).
For those of you keeping score at home, here’s the cheat sheet.
The more we study it, the more nebulous it is becoming (and that’s a good thing). Think of it more like a heat map or a probability field, defined by task, environment, genetics, and epigenetics. A potter is likely in a meaningfully different state (once we get fine grained about the neurophysiology) than a BASE jumper, or a Montessori kid stacking blocks. And that’s even cooler, and gives us more to learn. So don’t succumb to the Curse of Knowledge––stay curious friends!
And breathlessly identifying certain parts of the brain, or certain neurochemicals as the “love hormone” or the “god zone” or the “Jennifer Aniston circuit” or anything else, has thankfully fallen out of favor. If you hear folks rehashing reductionist stuff like this, odds are, they’re not an actual subject matter expert (who are uniformly humble and provisional) they’re just playing one on TV (or Instagram).
One that pays attention to up-regulation and down-regulation, subtle interplays between brain regions, different neurochemicals, and genetic and epigenetic expression. Check Lisa Feldman Barrett’s work on interoception and even her critiques of Porges’ Polyvagal Theory as a good place to start. Interdependent, multi purpose, multi-modal neurophysiology is the name of the game going forward.
Beyond the ego-puff of rattling off terms like anterior cingulate gyrus and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in your next cocktail party or twitter post, ask yourself, Does This Grow Corn? Hydrologists study water, but never get wet. Surfers ride the waves, and also learn applied hydrology because it’s central to their pursuit of Mastery. Jump in, the water’s fine ;)
Experiences like 5-MeO-DMT are like pouring the ocean into a thimble and the limit is less the information than it is our retention (and despite that caveat, recent research shows it still has meaningful impact). Integration is the next massive hurdle for all of us freebasing what Jung called “unearned wisdom.” Check Sam Harris’ recent podcast with Hopkins’ Roland Griffiths and his personal account of taking up McKenna’s “Five grams in silent darkness” gauntlet and wading deep into the Mysto. Classic Harris!
So this is a partial list of findings and cautions, but is enough to steer by.
Bottom line: all that glitters is not gold.
The simple stuff is often the best. And more information is nothing without full integration.
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