Steven Kotler: Empathy, Eco-Psychology, The Perceptual Crisis, Flow States and Ecological Innovation

About Steven Kotler

Steven is the founder of the Flow Research Collective and the author of 8 best-selling books on creative entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence, human-animal connection, high performance and flow psychology. 

Empathy, Eco-Psychology, The Perceptual Crisis, Flow States and Ecological Innovation

In the interview, Steven talks about his new book Last Tango In Cyberspace, the future of artificial intelligence (and humanity), biodiversity loss, eco-psychology research and the perceptual crisis we face today.


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Learn more from Steven Kotler's books, talks, social media and read some of his best quotes.

“When people say that animal rescuers are crazy, what they really mean is that animal rescuers share a number of fundamental beliefs that makes them easy to marginalize. Among those is the belief that Rene Descartes was a jackass.”

― Steven Kotler, A Small Furry Prayer

“The reasons there are so many clichés about universes inside of dewdrops is because there are universes inside of dewdrops.”

― Steven Kotler

“If we are hunting the highest version of ourselves, then we need to turn work into play and not the other way round. Unless we invert this equation, much of our capacity for intrinsic motivation starts to shut down. We lose touch with our passion and become less than what we could be and that feeling never really goes away.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“And the dark night of flow is an issue that society has not made particularly easy to handle. How many people have stopped playing guitar, writing poetry, or painting watercolors—activities packed with flow triggers—because these are also activities that do not squarely fit into culturally acceptable responsibility categories like “career” or “children”? How many, now grown up and done with childish things, have put away the surfboard, the skateboard, the whatever? How many have made the mistake of conflating the value of the vehicle that leads us to an experience (the surfboard, etc.) with the value of the experience itself (the flow state)?”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“To really achieve anything, you have to be able to tolerate and enjoy risk. It has to become a challenge to look forward to. In all fields, to make exceptional discoveries you need risk—you’re just never going to have a breakthrough without it.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“mindset impacts emotion, which alters biology, which increases performance. Thus, it seemed, by tinkering with mindset—using everything from physical to psychological to pharmacological interventions—one could significantly enhance performance.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“The happiest people on earth worked hard for their fulfillment. They didn’t just have the most peak experiences, they had devoted their lives to having these experiences, often, as Csikszentmihalyi explained in his 1996 book Creativity, going to extreme lengths to seek them out: It was clear from talking to them, that what kept them motivated was the quality of the experience they felt when they were involved with the activity. The feeling didn’t come when they were relaxing, when they were taking drugs or alcohol, or when they were consuming the expensive privileges of wealth. Rather, it often involved painful, risky, difficult activities that stretched the person’s capacity and involved an element of novelty and discovery.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“Since flow is a fluid action state, making better decisions isn’t enough: we also have to act on those decisions. The problem is fear, which stands between us and all actions. Yet our fears are grounded in self, time, and space. With our sense of self out of the way we are liberated from doubt and insecurity. With time gone, there is no yesterday to regret or tomorrow to worry about. And when our sense of space disappears, so do physical consequences. But when all three vanish at once, something far more incredible occurs: our fear of death—that most fundamental of all fears—can no longer exist. Simply put: if you’re infinite and atemporal, you cannot die.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“When risk is a challenge, fear becomes a compass—literally pointing people in the direction they need to go next”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superma

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