Awaken from the Meaning Crisis Ep2.

Flow, Metaphor and the Axial Revolution

Jimmie Munyi


September 24, 2022

Flow state

  • Could be likened to ‘being in the zone’
  • To achieve it: Demands of the current situation should go slightly beyond the current skill level.
  • There are flow-induction machines, e.g., video games.
  • Requirements:
    • tight feedback with environment
    • failure should matter
  • Some scenarios that include flow and fulfill the above requirements: playing jazz, martial arts, rock climbing.
  • Flow state is connected to meaning in life. They are directly propotional.
  • Meaning in life → We create this meaning. It is not life meaning of life where people leave it to chance and destiny.
  • Flow state is universal across groups.
  • One is deeply at one with things.
  • Time is passing differently.
  • Self-consciousness is not present. It disappears. The inner critic that limits us is not present.
  • Super salient → we are more vibrant. Occurrences are more intense.
  • It is the best experience you can have, and it is where you do your best work.
  • Mindfulness increases capacity to get into flow state.
  • Cascade of insights, that in turn leads to more insight.
  • We gain capacity for implicit learning – we pick up on complex patterns in your environment.
  • Unbeknownst to us.
  • Activates ‘psychic abilities’. In quotes. Our actions and decisions look like magic to the ordinary observer.

Implicit Learning

  • Intuition is as a result of implicit learning.
  • Intuition and bias are different sides of the same coin:
    • Intuition is good learning and what we should strive for. As a result of casual patterns that actually exist
    • Bias is bad learning and something we should look out for. As a result of correlations that we take too seriously.
  • We should train our implicit learning to pick up on the casual patterns instead of the correlations.
  • We should set up the right context so that implicit learning can occur.
  • Science can be though of as distinguishing the casual from the correlation.
  • Conditions for flow are the same for implicit learning. They reinforce each other:
    • clear information
    • tightly coupled feedback
    • failure matters
  • We lean real complex patterns.
  • Flow deeply enhances cognition.


  • Ability to connect things that are not connected.
  • Pervasive and profound
  • How you make creative connections between ideas.
  • Restructures how you think of things/ideas.

Axial Revolution

  • New kind of literacy
  • There was a collapse – devastating, almost like apocalypse.
  • Alphabetic literacy invented. Easier and more powerful. It helps:
    • write down ideas – we can come back to them
    • correct ideas that were previous wrong.
    • Store ideas.
  • Second order thinking – thinking about thinking
  • Metacognition – awareness of your mind
  • examine your own thinking and correct it.
  • Coinage is invented. Trains you:
    • abstract symbol system
    • numeracy. Counting.
  • Both leads to realizing:
    • how much you can correct cognition
    • enhancing awareness of self deceptiveness and awareness of errors in our cognition.