Hey good people,
Wanted to take a moment, as we do once or twice a year, to clarify our thinking behind our communicating (i.e. writing and talking that you might come across here and online).
It's important because if you don't know the Why, it's gonna be easier to stumble over the What(TF)???
One attendee of our recent Camp Omega in Aspen confided to me around the bonfire one night "you know, the reason I came was because of your newsletters, and it really seemed that about a year ago you found your voice again, I was glad to see it."
A recent participant in Flow Fundamentals, our introductory course for all things peak performance/personal optimization asked in a class thread "I don't understand why Jamie just wrote an essay on population control, what does that have to do with hacking Flow states???"
So. One at a time.
First comment about "a year ago me finding my voice" was half true and half not. True in that this camper noticed a shift in what and how I was writing. But that was less a case of "mojo lost and found," than it was a deliberate outta-fucks decision to start publicly contributing a bit more to cultural conversations and hopefully explore some "middle paths" through them.
We can't get to a civil society if we can't figure better ways through these crucial conversations.
So I started keeping a list of "Third Rail Conversations"––like transgender athletics, reproductive rights, slavery reparations, population challenges, shame culture and a bunch of others––not at all because I have some overt dog in those fights.
But much more because we're getting wrapped around our collective axle and we have to sort through much bigger harder problems soon enough.
So I wondered "what if we can, up front, affirm good faith and protection for all pro-social humanist values, and then get to actually touch those third rails, have the convos we're all dying to, and see if we can't reclaim a reasonable middle ground from the whack nuts on the extremes? (AKA, "recapture the Rapture")
Said more simply––Can we get beyond the win-lose tribalism of the Finite Game and start staking out the higher ground of the Infinite Game? All of us or none of us. Everyone everywhere, everywhen (ancestors and descendants).
Plus, modeling rigorous post-conventional thinking, plus humor and irreverence and the occasional delight in a well-turned phrase. Cuz the moment we can't laugh at ourselves, each other and this Full Catastrophe is the moment I really give up hope.
The second question, "what does this have to do with Flow states?" is one we knew founding and naming this organization a decade ago. Once you move beyond the biohacking and self-improvement hype machine, you realize there's very real limits to all the tips and tricks that overpromise and never deliver (especially after contact highs, novelty, replication studies and placebo effects wear off).
What remains and why bother with any of it?
Personal optimization––expanding the range and resilience of our neurophysiology, so we can show up living fully engaged lives––remains at the core of our mission and purpose.
(the point of calling it the Genome of Flow was to demystify those states, and empower people to connect the evidence-based dots, after all)
FWIW, in case you missed it, in Recapture the Rapture we mapped the 9 step process that pretty much underpins all mystical, transcendent death-rebirth practices around the world since time immemorial. And they fucking work. And we selected for open source, scalable and anti-fragile versions so anyone anywhere could conduct that experiment in self-initiation.
So I don't think we're falling down on that front. Not even close. We've torn the lid off the thing (but you have to crack the Easter Eggs to find out the actual launch codes) #timetravelingspacemonkeysFTW
But here's the thing––figuring out how to access peak states, flow states, mystical states, contemplative states, eroto-comatose states, any and all of 'em––is a necessary but not sufficient complement to growing up and showing up in the world.
If we dial in our inspiration and healing, then we can take responsibility first for ourselves, then our families and those we love, then our communities and those we live near, then our countries and possibly even the world.
But it's a sliding scale cuz if we get knocked on our asses while trying to "save the world" we go back to the bottom of the slide to personal self care before we can be helpful to others again.
It's just Expedition Behavior, taken out of the mountains and put into the world. If I'm a good camper, can stay fed and hydrated and sleep warm and dry, I'm gonna be a much better climbing partner the next day. And the day after that, and that, and that.
To be sure, if we wanted to make a cranking info-marketing business out of all this stuff, we'd "stay in our lane" and keep recycling shit we said from ten years ago. We'd overhype other people's research as justification for our own programs and we'd keep holding out the tantalizing, but utterly vacuous promise of 500%ing your performance or making six figures in your pajamas, or whatever else your ego driven lizard brain might feel compelled to latch onto.
But it's not a lane. It's never been a lane.
It's a path. Narrow AF but straight as an arrow.
It's the path leading from deconditioned socially defined zoo animals, to awake, aware, alive and engaged HomeGrown Humans. It's a path out of our lead in roles in comfortable cages, and into walk on parts in the Good Fight.
It's an attempt to situate ourselves on the bright side of history. (which can be super meaningful and a TON of fun if we get it right)
(That was also the thinking behind that recent two-parter on population. If we’re actually serious about “lifestyle optimization” then that lifestyle, and that optimization has to be durable, resilient, and ethically congruent).
It’s the same instinct for when we’re guiding in the backcountry––moving up ahead of the group to scout the next crux or challenge. And if we run the traps on “our next challenges” then the transition off carbon and into next level steady state populations is a hum dinger of a crux. Most public convos are still stuck in the vein of “if we change our ways now there’s still time…” or “I have a super complicated ideal solution that will never survive first contact with reality.” So please know that the effort to get a little uncomfortable now was 100% dedicated to avoiding much more discomfort later.
Neuroanthropology to understand where we've come from and why we do the zany things we do.
Culture Architecture to map, model and build communities that answer Pulitzer prize winning author Wallace Stegner's challenge, to "create a society to match the scenery."
This is who we are and why we are. A community of mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, artists, adventurers, healers, musicians, builders, warriors, ministers, elders and children. No nonsense or bullshit straight up decent people doing real things in the real world. It’s a loose affiliation, but from time to time it becomes a congregation.
And what do we congregate around?
The commitment to try and speak truth as deeply as possible, and share what matters most next. Always.
It's a highwire act, to be sure, but know that it comes from a bone-deep commitment to staying awake, building stuff, and helping out.
As the ol' Rumster said, "out there beyond Right and Wrong, is a field, I'll meet you there..."
Thanks for reading.
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