‘There’s a fundamental urge in human beings to transcend the ego.’ Jules Evans
Have you ever felt you went beyond your ordinary self and felt connected to something bigger?
In a 2016 UK survey, over 84% of respondents (including atheists, agnostics, Christians and Buddhists) said yes to this question.
So what’s going on?
In the complex web of modern life, we are conditioned to embrace our rational minds and spend every second of our conscious hours in search of opportunities and threats.
We are encouraged to get ahead, win friends, influence people, attract praise, avoid blame and generally focus on satisfying the individual everyday ego. But every society in human history, except ours, accepted our basic human need to lose control, go beyond the ego, and connect with something bigger than ourselves.
This experience became known as ecstasy.
In this podcast, we talk to Jules Evans about the various forms of ecstatic experience, how transcendence can be good for us, and how through proper practice, it can help us find healing, inspiration, connection and joy.
Full episode on SoundCloud:
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In this episode, we discuss:
- How Jules’ ‘messed himself up’ as a teenager & how he got through it 1:25
- The ‘pathologization’ of ecstasy and why we started to fear losing control 4:35
- Jules’ near death experience 8:45
- PTSD vs Post Traumatic Growth 11:25
- The different methods people use to find ecstasy in modern society 12:50
- Rock ‘n’ roll’s origins in Christianity 15:45
- The invasion of Eastern Spirituality into Western Culture and ‘remixing Christianity.’ 17:38
Jules Evans is Policy Director at the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London and a leading researcher into ecstatic experience. He also runs the world’s biggest philosophy club, the London Philosophy Club, which has over 6,000 members. Jules’ first book, Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations was published in 19 countries and was selected by Matthew Syed as a Times Book of the Year. He has written for The Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Spectator and WIRED and is a BBC New Generation Thinker.
He has just published ‘The Art of Losing Control – A Philosopher’s Search for Ecstatic Experiences.’ In the book, Jules goes on a journey to discover how people find ecstasy in a post-religious culture, how it can be good for us, and also harmful.