Let Me Introduce You to the “Flow”

08 Feb

My brother sent me an article this morning that was fascinating, and, in my opinion, a little scary.

Scientists have apparently been able to identify the area in the brain the an elusive mental state known as “flow” originates.

“Flow” is  that feeling of effortless concentration that characterizes outstanding performance in all kinds of skills. Flow has been maddeningly difficult to pin down, let alone harness, but a wealth of new technologies could soon allow us all to conjure up this state. The plan is to provide a short cut to virtuosity, slashing the amount of time it takes to master a new skill – be it tennis, playing the piano or marksmanship.

Please read the rest of this article…..”Zap Your Brain into the Zone….Fast Track to Pure Focus

Here are my concerns…..

1) Part of the pleasure of being good at something is the fact that you have worked very hard to master a talent and can enjoy the sense of accomplishment. If you didn’t have to work to accomplish something, how rewarding could it be?

2) Before the “flow” is activated in our brains (most effectively),  I believe that we must first identify the unique talent within us.  This alone may take a lifetime.

3) The fact that the journalist allowed “Michael Weisend, who works at the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to hook my brain up to what’s essentially a 9-volt battery”  is a little scary considering that human nature (our ego to be more precise) will always desires instant gratification – especially if “the electrodes somehow reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex – the area used in critical thought….

Scary thought #3 is what I am most worried about.   We can bet on the fact that if there is a way to make ourselves better at something without having to work at it…..we will do (or pay whatever) it takes to make that happen.

And then…….part of our population (the “1%” part) will be comprised of bored, robot minded individuals that will most likely lack emotion (which I’m pretty sure could be connected to critical thinking somehow) who will be able to do anything – effortlessly.

Yes, the study of the functionality of our brains is beneficial, but to what extent do we want to push the envelope?….

Other posts you might like:

Life is full of controversy so here is a thought to live by:
Why is life unfair?
Because there’s never going to be a system that is fair to everyone.
Shannon Miller

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2 responses to “Let Me Introduce You to the “Flow”

  1. iamthelawrus

    February 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Personally I will be first in line to scotch tape a 9-volt battery to my head. The suppression of frontal lobe activity is just a theory, but even that makes sense. As they mention, it’s the source of self-analysis and self-judgment and that stuff really gets in the way of focusing on the task at hand and getting into it. Also, there’s a growing body of research suggesting that “geniuses” have greater interconnectivity between different parts of their brains, allowing them to really see the big picture. This is pure and shameful conjecture on my part, but it seems at least conceivable that a weak electrical field may assist with that (although, as with frontal lobe suppression, one might expect it to have the opposite effect of disrupting communication between distant parts of the brain).

    Anyway, this is the second article I’ve read recently on this subject and if I had to guess I would say we could see commercial applications in the next 2-5 years. That’s exciting to me! Ultimately true satisfaction comes from seeking meaning and truth, and this wont get in the way of that (I mean, if your tendency is to seek out meaning and truth in the first place). On the contrary, it may ease the burden of those things in our lives that do get in the way and allow more time for the good stuff?

    • Peaceful Controversy

      February 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      I think I disagree with you here….it may be true that “geniuses” have greater interconnectivity between different parts of the their brains…..but I believe that self-analysis and self-judgment contributes to genius.
      And….while I do agree that seeking meaning and truth is the ultimate satisfaction of life, this will, in my opinion, prevent us from doing that. It will be too easy to think we already know the meaning and truth if we are just able to do whatever we want, whenever we want, how ever we want and as good as we need to……where is the challenge in that? Fun, maybe…..for a while. Then boredom sets in and there needs to be more stimulation. We will no longer be able to stimulate ourselves by simply seeking the meaning and truth organically.


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