Ulysses Alvarez Laviada
6 min readJun 12, 2018

The Flow Genome Project. How a sell-man gets away camouflaged as spiritual leader.

This just pass beyond the ridiculous. The very logic that leads Jamie Wheal (Director of Programs for the Flow Genome Project) to state that everyone worships was the very logic that lead Sigmund Freud long ago to write Beyond the Pleasure Principle and realised he was wrong.

We could use the same logic Freud used to think we cannot escape pleasure. However, after going through Lacan’s rite of passage, we know today that whatever we might consider our fundamental default drives (worshiping now) we always have many more drives, not only opposed to it, but cohabiting with them.

Please, Atheists knew that too even in the times of Nietzsche. Nietzsche, in his Twilight of the Idols, trying to philosophise with a hammer, warned about all these type of idolatry and worshipping after the so called death of God.

Nietzsche actually addressed both, the old school religion and the “new religion” of his time, in which he included atheism and all form of idolatry of earthly and man made things.

Nietzsche addressed the last religion: men as a religion. All those who even worship Nietzsche never understood Nietzsche and his denunciation of the religion of men.

People still think today that old school religion just refers to the big monotheistic religion. They completely neglect pantheism, hylozoism, animism.

I just cannot believe how people still try to repeat history instead of learning from it.

No, sorry Jamie. I do not worship anything and not, not worshiping is not another way of worshiping.

Furthermore, to be “dialectical” with the meaning of a word is to make its impact so absolute than you can’t escape it, not even by denying it. The reality however is that you can do that with any word. To gain self awareness of it is to me a higher level of self awareness. I don’t think Jamie’s statements convey such higher level of self awareness.

The case of Bruce Lee, for instance, when he refers to. “the art of worship without worshiping”, introduces a very interesting experience in language. I call it, twin effect at spooky distance. It has nothing to do directly with quantum mechanic, but it is a metaphorical allusion to it. To worship without worshiping, which can be translated as “to […] without […]ing” can be applied to any word, means that we are semantically forking the meaning of the word, worship.

This forking create a semantic twin of the word worship even when syntactically we are still using the same word. In this case, one of the twin is more energetic and optimal, while the other is a bit more toxic and lethargic. I would agree with Jamie usage of the word worship, if he could detach from its syntactic expression too, which he didn’t, allowing for the trick of absolutism by semantic coercion without syntactic considerations.

Syntactic consideration means coming to the higher level of self awareness that the “dialectical” operation that Jamie did with the meaning of worship can’t be sustainable at a syntactic level and another word or no word at all will claim its right, and yet worship wouldn’t be the last one or the root one. Jamie is calling for a new type of worship that is like non worshiping or like “none of the above”.

If it is a new kind of worship, I don’t think it reconcile or divorce from the old worship, but masks the Emperor new clothes. If it is “none of the above”, then it is close to Bruce Lee philosophy, which I don’t really think is Jamie’s and his troop philosophy. Jamie’s philosophy is a collage, pastiche and eclecticism of the two with predominant inclination to the first one: a new kind of worship, secular worship. I would even coin it, secular pagan worship.

Keeping the word “worship” in the case of Jamie is strategical in business terms and not religious. For instance, Totemism (worshiping dead animal heads or objects) was a way of worshiping in primitive Hunter-Gathering communities.

Jamie wants to present secular worshiping as a non religious practice, but that is not historically accurate. Hence, he is misrepresenting Sam Harris view, which even when is more focused on main monotheistic religions it does include totemism and secular fetishisation.

Please, don’t loose track of what the video above is: a pitch, an advert. Jamie is foremost a sell-man trying to make sure that the product he provides is worshipped even if he has to use reverse psychology tactics, namely, not to over-sell it and appear primarily detached from monetary gains. Keeping the word “worshiping” and assuming everyone worship make sense for his NLP work of fetishisation of his own ideas and products.

Since “worshiping” convey in its meaning both, a passion but also an addiction, the parasitic needle of addiction can penetrate deeply in our unconscious as he delivers his message of passion and peak performance.

What if you could make your life meaningful not by thinking on how to trigger your highest states, but by optimising the chemical knobs and levers in your brain, bypassing thinking, and triggering the same highest states? Welcome to the Flow Genome Project: A method of human peak performance in which you don’t have to think too much to be at your peak conditions. You just give them your brain profile and they will chemically activate the right triggers to put you in the same or higher peak conditions.

When we think, we actually waste time and become inefficient. For instance, if you see your favourite ice-cream together with your second favorite ice-cream, you will hesitate for a moment before taking action. Flow Genome Project remove that time lag and makes you chose your favourite ice-cream over and over again without hesitation when you see it. But, I ask Flow Genome Project, isn’t that time lag what actually makes us human?

Would Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal life examples and thoughts give us the edge of peak performance in more effective ways than optimising the chemical knobs and levers in our brains? If ideas and thoughts actually can help more effectively than messing with the chemical knobs and levers why they focus so much on those chemical knobs and lever?

Thoughts and ideas in order to be efficient and be at their peaks require of great deal of time lag, hesitation and time wasting, of to and fro of often useless work. There is not perfect paradise in which everything can and will be flow states. We humans need anti-flow states, we even need to promote them in order to get to the highest states.

Let’s put it this way: We are all already in flow states. Flow state is not something just reserve for the elite and peak performance achievers. We literally have the absence of inner dialogue and we are purely the action of what we are doing when we walk, when we drive and, in general, when we do many of the things we do automatically, which we had to learn before.

It is when things plateau in our life, we get into routine and low energy automation sets in that we assume we are not at our best. Yet, not to feel at our best is not to be grateful with what we have accomplished so far. We don’t need to compare ourselves with high peak achievers to find our flow states, we are better off comparing ourselves with the peaks of what we have accomplished so far no matter how little. To be back into our flow or regain back our flow states depend entirely on looking back at our own flow states. They are there, we just haven’t looked hard enough.

Why Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal are making of flow states something quasi-mystical and rare? We all humans, and even all living organisms in this planet are often “in the zone”, “in the pocket”. Every living thing have felt at their best and performed their best at least once in their life time and they continue to do so even without knowing. Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal haven’t really captured the true ontological dimension of their own teachings.

If the fundamental principle of feeling free is based on having choice, namely, being able to choose beyond our automated response, and such a feeling give us immense satisfaction, but bigger forces drag us by the urges of our instincts and we wanted just to enhance and upgrade such instincts, we might well prefer to be automatons rather than free.

If the Flow Genome Project is to reach flow states for as many people as possible and flow state means to accomplish the highest and hardest of human tasks in the absence of any inner dialogue, while we are purely the action of what we are doing, wouldn’t flow state means to do everything automatically like a robot in ecstasy?

Ulysses Alvarez Laviada

Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights. Friedrich Hegel.