“I went searching for the white light I’d found on the mountain in Norway, and spent five years chasing it, like Alice chasing the White Rabbit”
How mastering the art of losing control can help us live a better life: a wise, witty and dynamic guide to the philosophy of human ecstasy
Humans have always sought ecstatic experiences - moments where they go beyond their ordinary self and feel connected to something greater than them. Such moments are fundamental to human flourishing, but they can also be dangerous.
Beginning around the Enlightenment, western intellectual culture has written off ecstasy as ignorance or delusion. But philosopher Jules Evans argues that this diminishes our reality and denies us the healing, connection and meaning that ecstasy can bring.
He sets out to discover how people find ecstasy in a post-religious culture, how it can be good for us, and also harmful. Along the way, he explores the growing science of ecstasy, to help the reader - and himself - learn the art of losing control.
Jules’ exploration of ecstasy is an intellectual and emotional odyssey balancing personal experience, interviews and readings from ancient and modern philosophers that will change the way you think about how you feel. From Aristotle and Plato, via the Bishop of London and Sister Bliss, radical jihadis and Silicon Valley transhumanists, The Art of Losing Control is a funny and life-enhancing journey through under-explored terrain.
“Compelling … His sensitivity as a thinker, like his skill as a storyteller, is never in doubt”
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“An original and outstanding investigation into a poorly understood but central experience in all our lives. Jules Evans is brave, honest and wise - a great companion and guide on a fascinating journey”
Caspar Henderson, Author Of The Book Of Barely Imagined Beings
“A captivating exploration of humanity’s journey toward self-transcendence”
“In keeping with the ecstatic experience itself, this is a wild, wondrous, wide-eyed journey, and Evans has convinced me at least that it’s a trip worth taking”
“An important book, because it reminds us philosophy is not just about analysis. It’s also about the good life”
the Times On Philosophy For Life
Jules Evans is policy director at the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations, which was published in 19 countries and was a Times Book of the Year. Jules has written for The Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Spectator and WIRED and is a BBC New Generation Thinker. He also runs the London Philosophy Club, the world’s biggest philosophy club. @julesevans77