#591: Flow: Unlocking Peak Performance

rave-mehtaRavé Mehta talks about how he was able to deal with recovering from a health condition through achieving progressively deeper, longer, and more consistent levels of flow states. He talks about his holistic philosophy of flow, what he learned from game design, the gift economy at Burning Man, the differences between competitive and cooperative flow states, and how deflationary cryptocurrencies have the potential to provide an infrastructure and context that encourages more collaborative flow within business.

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Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR Podcast. So when I was at the Institute of Nootic Sciences conference, I saw present Rave Mehta. What he was talking about was his recovery from Lyme disease. And what he ended up doing was trying to find different ways that he could achieve these different flow states. And flow states are the states where you just stop thinking about it, you just get into the challenge of whatever that you're doing and you have this high level of skill. And he found that the more that he was able to achieve these different flow states, the more that his health conditions and his symptoms of Lyme disease were actually becoming a lot better. And so it became his practice to try to study this, to try to figure out what are the things that he could do to get into these flow states. And, you know, when I go and do interviews at a conference for the Voices of VR, I get into the deepest flow state that I could possibly imagine. I am just totally in the flow. I know where to go. I know where to be. I know who I want to talk to. And then in that moment of a conversation, it just feels like I have these flashes of insight of what questions to ask. And it doesn't feel like it's just coming from me. It's just like I'm surrendering in this deep state of flow. And so I wanted to talk about this, about his own personal experiences. And I wanted to just preface this to say, like, a lot of his experiences that Rave is talking about here haven't been proven by the scientific community. And so it's sort of like, take it for insight to see whether or not it works for you. And I've been kind of working with some of these concepts, and I can attest to the fact that some of the philosophy that Rave has around achieving these different flow states I feel like I'm experiencing in my own life. It's a little bit confusing in this interview the differentiation between what Rave says between flow states and states of flow and one of them he's referring to like your general baseline of flow that you have and then the other one he's talking about in the moment what is the degree of flow that you have and that the higher that your baseline is then the more that you're able to achieve that state of flow. And fortunately, he uses flow state and state of flow to differentiate between those two, and he confuses them enough that I am even confused as to which one he means. And so I just think of it as a baseline of where you're at in your life. and how much degree of flow you get at any given moment. And the higher your baseline of your flow, the more that you're able to achieve these deeper states of flow. And that's kind of what I've been finding true in my life. Just to contextualize where I'm at right now, I'm actually in Houston, Texas, and it's just in this long stream of flow of coming from Patricon, which was in Los Angeles. I got back at 2am on Saturday morning, got up the next morning, met with a reporter from a major newspaper, and then rushed to the airport to come here. I got here, I was exhausted. I went to bed, woke up at 4am, prepared this keynote that was kind of synthesizing all of my thinking over the last year. presented at this conference and was up out until like 10 o'clock last night just hanging out and meeting with people here in Houston, Texas, did a couple of interviews. Now I woke up this morning and did this whole interview about flow and so I'm trying to reinvent the way that I am processing and making my podcast. If I could achieve a state of flow nonstop, all the time, every day in my work, then that's what I'm trying to strive for and I can do that when I'm traveling. But I can't do that when I'm working day to day. So my personal goal is to try to find out how can I achieve these different flow states in the context of how I do my work each and every day. And I think that virtual reality has a lot to say about that. And I can't do that yet. But I want to have the VR technologies that allow me to be able to do that. So With that, this interview with Ravi happened at the Institute of Noetic Sciences Conference that was happening in Oakland, California on Sunday, July 23rd, 2017. So, with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:04:04.293] Rave Mehta: My name is Ravi Mehta with Mehta Labs. My path into getting into flow? Well, back in my early 20s I spent 15 years researching fear and I'd do all sorts of things, jump out of planes, swim with sharks, anything that would put me in a position where I'd have to confront a fear and then observe my thoughts and figure out which thoughts were existing when I'm in a fear state and when I'm not in a fear state. So that gave me a very strong foundation of fear and trust-based emotions and kind of what triggers what and the mechanics of how all that works. And then in 2012, I caught Lyme disease and all of a sudden I started feeling this anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, all these fear-induced Experiences or sensations that were not generated by me. I could observe my thoughts it got really in tune with my thoughts and and the thoughts that's generating and I could observe that these aren't thoughts that I'm creating at least they're not perceptually induced by me But they're being induced by me in another way. So my physiology was inducing these thoughts on me. So I So that put me into a whole other line of, I guess, self-research. Research for survival, I guess. And I didn't think I'd survive 2012. So my last act on this planet, for me, was to release my graphic novel on Nikola Tesla called The Inventor. So I go to Comic Con, and after I missed the first two signings, but I made my final signing, and there's this long line of people waiting for me to sign the book, and as I was signing the book, first I was shocked that there was even anyone waiting for me, and then two, as I started signing the book, five, ten minutes into it, my body felt normal for the first time. So I kind of had this moment of realization, like, oh wow, this is what it's like to feel normal after seven months of feeling, you know, like, My body was shutting down. I lost 30 pounds in a month. I couldn't sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. It was just, you know, getting worse and worse over time. And then 20 minutes into it, I felt like that time I went skydiving and I felt high and adrenaline rush and everything was vibrant. People were beautiful. Life was amazing. I really want to live again. It was like that kind of like, wow, this is an amazing place to be. I mean, being life, right? So that's when I thought like, okay, I got to understand this. Later on I realized what was happening is all these people were feeding me so much flow through their love and appreciation and gratitude for this piece of art I was putting into the world that is fueling and normalizing my system. So that's when I started researching alternative modalities, how different groups and people look and perceive the mind-body, you know, how they treat that. And then flow is one of the things that I came into connection with in the context of a flow state through a friend of mine, Steven Kotler, who wrote a book called The Rise of Superman. And in that book, he talked about how action-adventure athletes would defy death and break world records and do all these crazy things by tapping into flow states. And the one thing he told me was that novelty is the driver of flow. And that's kind of the one thread that kind of tied everything I was doing together was this novelty because I was literally chasing hope for three years and trying all these different things. And everything would boost me, but then the plateau, then the boost and plateau and so on and so forth, but never resolved. So what I realized then was when everything was novel, I was getting better. And when the novelty ran out, I'd plateau. And then I'd have to chase and try something else that was new and discover something else new. That became novel. That would boost me. And then I'd plateau when the novelty ran out. So then I started creating a practice around pursuing novelty and presence. There's a lot of other flow drivers, but those are a couple of them. And that's how I started kind of really digging into the mechanics of flow. But what I was more interested in was from a flow state, which is what he talked about, his book talked about, and what a lot of the conversation around flow is, peak performance, flow state, to what I call the state of flow. Like, what is your baseline flow profile that you're operating from on a day-to-day basis? What's your default, your default state? and how do you raise your default state? So that's kind of where I started focusing on, because every time I come out of a flow state, whether it's playing the piano or hiking or rock climbing or whatever, I go back to this very low state where my body is not functioning properly and I'm having all sorts of pains, issues, brain fog, just lack of clarity, cramps, all these physiological pains and diseases, MS, I mean, experienced pretty much everything, dyslexia, all these various things I never had. So that's what led me to figuring out how do you raise your baseline flow profiles, what I refer to it as. And when I refer to flow, it's kind of like, what is flow? Like when you're in a flow state, what does that mean outside of how you feel? You know, when you're in a flow state, you're kind of hyper-present and every moment leads to the next without thought or hesitation. You know, you're a full trust mode, your prefrontal cortex turns off, so there's no doubt in your system, so there's no hesitation. And therefore, your brain processes information a thousand times faster, so you're smarter, you're stronger, you're faster, you heal quicker. But what's really happening? So to me, I relate flow to life force. And when you're in a flow state, you're flushed with life force. You open your pipes to all this life force that's available, and therefore, your body is not functioning at a superhuman state. But then when you fall out of the rhythm of flow, so to stay in a flow state, you have to maintain a rhythm. And when you follow this rhythm, then you go back to default state. So then my thought was like, well, how do I introduce new flow to my system that's permanent, that raises my default state? And that's essentially how I boosted my immune system by doing that, boosting my immune system enough to kind of remedy my Lyme condition.

[00:09:24.729] Kent Bye: And so, yeah, it sounds like you've gotten to the point where you're essentially asymptomatic from your Lyme disease, but you had to do that from a point of finding these different techniques and strategies to achieve these different dimensions of flow. And I saw you speak here at the Institute of Neurotic Science conference and had a chance to ask about, you know, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has this model between like challenge and skill such that, you know, there's like an eight channel model such that, you know, you have to have that high skill as an individual, but yet high challenge within the context of an environment or an experience such that you're able to kind of match your skills with the challenge of that experience. And that's where he found that there was these optimal flow states was when you were doing something that required a certain amount of skill and that you were being matched by the task that you were doing. And if you have high skill and the challenge is low, then you get bored or apathetic. And then if you have like high challenge but low skill, then it's anxiety provoking and it's just sort of frustrating because, you know, it's like in a game, you have the game progression curve, you know, accelerates too quickly and you have the learning curve is too steep and then you drop off because you feel like you suck. And then you don't continue that. So there's this sort of game component of reaching flow states. So I'm just curious to hear like your way of thinking about flow and like the models that you've developed in terms of kind of mapping out these different flavors or dimensions of flow.

[00:10:43.702] Rave Mehta: Well, it goes back to, there's two things. There's flow state and then the state of flow. So in a flow state, yeah, it follows kind of our game mechanics that we've known, you know, how that works out, how to engage human behavior and direct human behavior, right? So human behavior is most engaged when you find that right balance between what you suggest as a challenge and skill level. So, but that's just a point. That's a data point. that has to have a progression curve to it. Because as long as the skill and the challenge are matched, or they're slightly more challenged than the skill, then it creates novelty and engagement. And then once that skill matches the challenge, then you need to raise the challenge a little bit more to keep that engagement. So that's where progression goes on. That's how people get better at games, because that challenge is raised slightly by the skill level. So that's game mechanics. And you do that, and you create a rhythm of that. And when that rhythm If someone falls out of that, all of a sudden the challenge becomes super challenging, all of a sudden for a minute, and the skill level hasn't had a chance to catch up, then they lose interest. Or the challenge doesn't level up and then skills match the challenge, now it's no longer as boring. So that's the flow state is what happens in just a flow state when that happens. So when you're rock climbing, for example, and you have no rope, or nothing supporting you, then every moment you're hyper-present. As long as you feel like you can reach that, you can do that, then you keep moving. The minute you see, like, I have no idea, then you slowly start to slip, and your flow gets blocked. Your state of flow starts to get blocked. Not your flow state, but you follow the rhythm of the flow state, and then you have to scramble for some other solution. But then the doubts and the hesitations and all that stuff is introduced into your system. And that blocks your state of flow, which is the other side of it. So in the state of flow, which is kind of like your ongoing, your default state, what does that look like? The higher that is, the more elasticity you have to enter a flow state. or the more wider band you have to stay in a flow state. And this is because you have already more life force in your system. So the amount of life force you need to get into a flow state is the differential is much less. So that's kind of the balance between the two. I think the more you are in a higher default state, the easier it is to access a flow state. You need flow to access flow is the other thing. So someone that's super weak, in bed, can't move, it's much harder for them to access a flow state than someone that's active and mobile and can get out and rock climb or get on a bike trail and do things, right? Because also flow is, there are other mechanics that kind of aids in the flow. It could be purely perceptual, it could be movement, it could be other people, you know, being in environments, it could be just the environment design, being in nature. All these things can help enhance your ability to get into a flow stage. So you can design your lifestyle or your environment or your situation, your daily staples to help enhance your ability to get into flow or just raise your default flow, state of flow. Does that make sense?

[00:13:37.075] Kent Bye: Yeah, and also yesterday you showed this graph where you talked about different dimensions of flow, whether it was the environment or your lifestyle, and maybe you could go through those different kind of domains that you find that you, or I don't know what you would kind of categorize, or how you describe those, but kind of go through how you kind of think about it in that way.

[00:13:55.090] Rave Mehta: Sure. So I say there are five influencers or five areas that flow can be blocked or enhanced. And the first one is your physiology, your body. So that could be genetics. It could be the stuff you put in and on your body with the food you eat, the water, the quality of water you drink and all that. or the makeup you put on, or the shampoo. All these things have chemicals and all sorts of other materials in it. Some are toxic and some are not. Some are enhancing. So your physiology can enhance or detract from your ability to get into flow. Second is your mindset. So that's your emotional state, your belief systems, your perceptual ability, the ability to perceive your programming from before. So those can either enhance or block your ability to get into flow. The third is your people, just people you surround yourself by or the people you interact with, you know, your friends, your family, your peers, your social environments, your work colleagues, the careers you choose. Even your community or your nation, you know, as we see now in social media, there's such a divisiveness just from a national level that can enhance or block airflow. And then the fourth is environment. So that's being outside in nature or just even the space design. If you're in a box with no windows, you're going to have less flow than if you have something that can extend your field of view. But the window or even the shape of those designs or the shape of those boxes or environments, how much life force is in there through other living beings, nature, things like that. And then the quality of nature, like the quality of air, quality of water, quality of the things you interact with in nature. So that can induce or detract from your flow. And then the fifth is lifestyle. So these are the things that you do on a day-to-day basis. So the staples you create, like the foods you eat, the time you eat the foods, when you sleep, how much you sleep, the quality of sleep. what you do, the activities you do, whether you do yoga or run or the type of movement you create. So all the lifestyle stuff is also things that can level up your flow profile or keep it suppressed. So what I found out of all five of those things is the things that are the staples, the things that you repeat every day on a regular basis, the rhythms you create, those are the things that have the most influence on whether you could increase your state of flow, which then enhances your ability to get into a flow state, or does it suppress your state of flow, which makes it harder to get into a flow state.

[00:16:14.137] Kent Bye: And have you translated all these different practices into some sort of product or technology or anything like that? Or what have you been doing with these direct experiences of what you had to do in order to heal from Lyme disease? These are the different routines and practices that you had to do. But I'm just curious about where this information and knowledge you've gathered, if there's an outlet for that.

[00:16:33.351] Rave Mehta: Yeah, well, that's a good question. I'm writing a book on this called Chasing Hope. And then we have, in my lab, we're doing a lot of interesting things that are trying to find ways to bring this out to others in a more, I guess, in a simpler format. So we have some VR stuff we're doing, giving people superhuman experiences to help them access their flow states or raise their flow profile. and other techniques we're playing around with from a technology and just from a straight directional process and, you know, down to the nutrition, what goes back to what are the staples that has the largest influence and everything else can give moments of perception that allows them to say, oh, this is possible. And then, you know, we could do a lot of interesting things to help them rewire their nervous system, rewire their programming to open them up to raising their flow profile. Yeah. So yeah.

[00:17:23.827] Kent Bye: Yeah, what's interesting to me about the way that you think about flow is that most people within the gaming community are thinking about, you know, within the context of, like, the game, what are the mechanics that you're going to provide to somebody to have them have the skill, match the challenge, and yet there's other dimensions of flow that are much more holistic about, you know, going in even to the environment. To some extent, you can start to synthetically simulate environments within virtual reality, and I think that could be a factor connected to the flow states that people get into. But I guess it's a model that goes beyond just the way that most people within the gaming community think about it. And, you know, just in generally talking about technology, we have this, you know, using technology as a transformative potential. And it sounds like you're starting to potentially explore that a little bit. And so how do you think about that in terms of like the role of technology in terms of like, What are the metaphors, I guess, that you use as something that's sort of an aid for people to be in the context of a virtual environment, but yet, you know, the real juice comes when they come out of it and reaching flow states that they can continue out their day-to-day? Or if the experience within itself is kind of the ends within the means, which is just having a flow state, and that could be enough?

[00:18:35.158] Rave Mehta: Yeah, I mean, I think the purpose of technology in general is to help people access higher degrees of freedom, right? So whether it's the internet, to communicate with people you may not be able to communicate with normally, or to see, or to get information that you normally would not get, to experiences that you can normally, like in virtual reality, you know, if you have no means of traveling to India, and you could do that in a virtual environment, that gives you more freedom, essentially extends your freedom state. So, and the higher degrees of freedom we experience, the more flow we can introduce in our system. So as far as the role of technology and flow, I mean, as long as it's extending or allowing us to experience higher degrees of freedom, then it's flow enhancing, whether it's state of flow or flow state. So some can be a flow state enhancer, some can be a state of flow enhancer, raising your default flow state or your flow profile. And yeah, so we explore, we kind of play around with different things that could do that. VR is an obvious one, but there's a lot of other things just like, Creating systems that do that, like blockchain technology is really interesting to us and how we could apply that to creating systems that help organize one of those five things I mentioned, like the environment, people, our physiology, perceptual mindset, things that could help enhance or create mechanics that allows the system to automate itself. That's delivering a higher degree of freedom for everyone else. So you go into the economic systems and how they work, and a lot of that's suppressive right now because of the way the policies are drawn. So if you look at a capitalistic society right now, it's based on a central banking system and a fiat system that's inflationary. The people that have a little money continue to fall behind because their money doesn't grow as fast as their salary through inflation or their income. The people that have a lot of money continue to scale that much faster and higher, well past the rate of inflation, so it creates a bigger gap. You introduce things like cryptocurrencies that are deflationary, like Bitcoin, You know, the people that have accrued money and continue to grow wealth, it allows them to feel safe and secure, therefore they're in a higher state of flow, or can access more flow states, and they're more willing to spend because they feel safe and secure than hoard, because they're trying to make sure they have enough for the next 10 years of their life, or 20 years of their life. So, just basic foundational systems of how our society works can be designed to be flow-enhancing, and then if you have a whole society, That's in a higher state of flow. Then you have more synchronicities happening and more innovation that happens you have more connectivity that happens and just a higher net emotional state, you know, so You know a happiness factor that goes up. So you just have a more enjoyable experience, you know versus a lot of people kind of afraid you have the mass shootings that take place and all these other things that take place and you know, largely because there's just the system, the overall system isn't accommodating for the net effect of the entire society. You know, there's a lot of suppression of fear right now. So that's my lens and how I look at this. And so I look at it as individual people or our individual experiences and capacities and capabilities, what enhances us individually, but then extend that to what can be designed to help the collective experience.

[00:21:45.182] Kent Bye: I know that Lynn Twist has a book called Soul of Money, where she talks about a metaphor for money being water, such that if water doesn't move and flow, then it becomes poisonous. You want to try to redistribute that wealth. When you talk about these different abilities for cryptocurrencies to have deflationary properties, Is it that they have like a negative interest rate so that the longer you hold on to them, they're worth less? Or, you know, there's this idea called Demerge from Charles Eisenstein talks about in Sacred Economics where it'd be kind of like the equivalent of using bread for money where the longer you hold on to a piece of bread, the more that it becomes stale such that you give it away to your community and that the person who gives away the most then becomes the most wealthy because you have this kind of like connectivity, such that eventually it comes back to them. Instead of the people who are most wealthy hoarding their money, they're giving it away in a certain way. You have this balance between yang currencies, which promote competition and individuation, and yin currencies, which promote community in some ways. Maybe negative interest rate could be a model for that, or maybe it's just a theoretical thing that's not actual practical. I'm just curious to hear some of your thoughts about the balancing between competition and cooperation when it comes to embedding this into these new capabilities that we have with cryptocurrency and the blockchain.

[00:23:08.631] Rave Mehta: Yeah, so both competition and collaboration serves different purposes. So competition usually is to make something that exists better, to create an incrementally better version of it. So whether you're racing, doing a competitive race, the race, you know, the person is out beating the other person by a few seconds or incrementally more, or whether you're competitive in a market environment, you know, you have a few competitors and one is outperforming the other slightly more, and they keep outperforming each other and keep incrementally leveling up whatever they're competing about. Collaboration is focused on creating something new or innovation, so those are where the step functions tend to happen. is when you have a bunch of diverse ideas coming together to rethink or reimagine things. And then once that thing is created, then competition makes it incrementally more efficient or more better, right? So there are roles for both competitions, incremental improvements and refinement and more efficient and collaboration creates whole new ways of thinking or new opportunities. So when you think of economies, like in blockchain, so I think of like, I don't think of negative interest rates as, well, when you look at Bitcoin, for example, the reason that's different is twofold. One is there's only a limited amount of Bitcoins that will ever be created. So that can't be manipulated, right? So you have a fixed amount of 21 million or so that will ever be created or exist versus a fiat system where you could keep printing more money and therefore diluting what's out there right now.

[00:24:33.075] Kent Bye: And then the second thing is... So there's still a little bit of an incentive to hold on to Bitcoin because it's going to become more valuable over time, to some extent.

[00:24:42.401] Rave Mehta: Yeah, no, I think it's still early and it's complete growth. I mean, I see Bitcoin going minimum $100,000 a coin in the next 10 years, if not much higher. So yeah, I mean, when people ask me what I think about it, I would say just keep buying and holding whatever you can afford to. But the other function of Bitcoin, what it does is it has the ability to, its denomination can break down to one hundred millionth of one Bitcoin. So the higher it goes, you could trade in smaller and smaller denominations, where the US dollar for example, it could break down to one hundredth of one, which is a penny. So it's one hundredth of a dollar versus one hundred millionth of a Bitcoin. That's a lot of growth potential before you have to start adding more to the system for it to make sense. So the cost of spinach actually in a fiat system goes up because you don't have enough. First of all, you're adding more to the system. So therefore, you have more dollars. So the supply of dollars to the spinach is higher. Therefore, the cost of spinach goes up. Or in Bitcoin, you have a limited amount. So Bitcoin will never exceed a certain amount. And therefore, the cost of spinach goes down, because then, as the value of the coin goes up, you're trading smaller and smaller denominations. So, those people in the retirement system, the people that work their lives and retire in the fiat system, they've saved up a certain amount of money, but inflation makes that money less valuable. over time, so they've worked their lives to then allow that money that they've earned to become less valuable unless they keep working. So that's the economy of keeping someone working pretty much their entire life to just keep that par, at least in the lower to middle classes, right? In a Bitcoin or deflationary economy where you have someone that worked all their life and they have this much saved up, now they're done, that can continue to increase in value, which incentivizes them to, hey, I have excess house money, so to speak, spend it and enjoy life and interact with people and create more connectivity, buy more spinach, whatever it is, and they're in a less of a stress, they're more of a stress-free environment than the one that's, okay, I need to make sure I have enough just so I could barely make it to the next 20 years of my life. And they're hoarding money because it's security, you know, so they will never transcend that secure state in the Maslow hierarchy where in the deflationary economy you have much more potential to go up to the social environment, up to even self-actualization because you don't have all these other Needs that have to be addressed because they're already addressed. So just a fundamental economic model can help enhance all these things So and a deflationary economy inspires or can enable more collaboration versus competition And I know that like Burning Man you have a gift economy which is sort of taking money out of the equation altogether where you have everybody who's sort of

[00:27:14.432] Kent Bye: at a certain level to even get there. But once you're there, you have this removal of bartering or exchange, and it becomes more about giving your gifts and exchanging in that way. And I think that I see that in different communities, whether it's a Wikipedia or people sharing information on the internet, or podcasting to some extent is, you know, anything that has to do with information and putting information out, it feels like the more for me as a podcast, I put out information, the more information I get, such that it's not like the more that I give away, the less I have. And as journalism, that's sort of a challenge, I think, that all journalism is finding is that we're kind of moving to then subscription models or other economic models, whether it's like Netflix or subscribing or patronage through Patreon. So there's a sort of a sense where you can give things away, but yet, have other competition elements where you're giving currencies that are more competitive. So I guess the question I have is, how do you see this balance between different philosophies in terms of a gift economy versus bartering versus monetary exchange? And whether or not, you know, for me, it seems like peak flow happens when it's gift economy, but yet that's sort of like a temporary artificial time-based container that dissolves at the end of it. And it's perhaps not sustainable over long periods of time.

[00:28:32.415] Rave Mehta: Yeah, I mean, Burning Man gift economy, to create a gift economy, there has to be an incredible amount of capital invested for people to show up and create all these things and the gifts and bring them there. And then once you're there, you have nine days to exchange freely, right? So I'm a big fan of gift economies. To create a sustainable gift economy, the fundamental needs have to still be met. So energy, food, water, all those source foundational stuff has to be abundant. So there's no scarcity in that level. So gift economies work with an abundance mindset, but also abundance of resources. So when that's the case, then it allows people to freely create. So then the values and the arts, right? And what they create, their expressions and their intentions and the social exchanges and how that takes place. So, and all that stuff, once again, you take the stress out of the security level and the survival stages of Maslow's and you move up the chain, you allow more flow to be introduced into the system, whether it's an individual or a community. So, yeah, moving towards a gift economy, like a Star Trek world, where everything's abundant, there's no money. The key element there was everything was abundant. They figured out how to create food from electrons in the replicator, and they figured out how to create experiences in the holodeck, and all these other things. And we're moving there. 3D printing is decentralizing manufacturing, so you don't need these things. We can create food from the very beginnings of it from a 3D printer, or we can grow it in our backyard, or whatever the cases are. We're moving in that direction, and that's where technology is helping us. There's certainly different models. I think the models have served us so far. Capitalism has served us to get to this point. It allowed a series of industrial revolutions to take place. But I think now it's ready for an upgrade, you know, so I call capitalism 2.0 or whatever the new word for it is But something that's more inclusive and not skewed towards the high producers so to speak Kind of control the game board to keep skewing everything towards them. It doesn't level out. So so yeah, I think it's ready for an upgrade That's more inclusive for all of it because I think there's still even the power and humanity is the minds Not the hands. All right, so The more minds that are engaged, and we're going to see that in the next five years, three billion new people are going to be connected to the internet. So pretty much we'll have the whole world on the internet and you'll see the amount of competition that comes into play with those new minds entering the internet, the ideas and the services that they provide will fundamentally change the entire structure of how the internet and humanity operates right now on the digital plane, which will introduce a whole new concept of economies. Because now you need the Bitcoins or the cryptocurrencies, because they are global, easily exchangeable currencies. The dollar won't work in these unbanked countries. Their local currency won't work, because it's a global exchange. So, you'll need something that has more of a global value of exchange.

[00:31:12.432] Kent Bye: Lewis, and finally, what do you think is the ultimate potential of virtual reality or these other decentralized technologies, and what they might be able to enable?

[00:31:24.843] Rave Mehta: I mean, the ultimate potential is, I mean, I think the full vision of humanity is to continue towards organizing into one organism that thinks and acts and moves as one in harmony with the planet and the environment and each other. So I think anything that contributes to that is moving us in evolutionary detection. Because once again, like I said, You know, the hive mind, so to speak, has way more power than a bunch of decentralized factions, right? So that's where the collaboration comes in. And then there's competition built into that that kind of allows the best thoughts and ideas to bubble up. But the connection of all of that and the filtering through all the different voices, I think, allows us to accelerate the evolution. So we as a species follow the Moore's Law as well. And the more connectivity we have with the more minds that enter the system versus hands, you know, the labor, then the faster we can evolve as a species. That leads us to a possible Star Trek scenario where we're colonizing and exploring other planets and other parts of the universe and ourselves because there's so many more collective experiences that can be shared and exchanged and riffed on. So the learning space, the curiosity and the discovery space grows exponentially, which ultimately is what drives flow. Curiosity is one of the the most sustainable drivers of flow, and also a natural form of life extension. So the more curious one is, the more it leads them to new discoveries and novelty, which introduces new flow into the system, which allows them to heal faster and allows their body to keep up with their curiosity and their mind. And this is shown by Nikola Tesla, for example, born in the mid-1800s, lived to be 86. Edison lived to be 84. All these people born in the mid-1800s that are scientists and inventors Thought leaders, creators, even JP Morgan, who's a banker, but he was creating an entire era of electricity based on the technology these guys developed. They lived to be their mid-70s and mid-80s when the average lifespan was 52. So they lived 50% longer, and there are studies done on how curiosity can actually extend your life and keep you healthier.

[00:33:27.824] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:33:30.289] Rave Mehta: Yeah, thank you.

[00:33:31.170] Kent Bye: This is fun. So that was Rave Mehta of Mehta Labs. And I want to differentiate here is that the Mehta is his last name. He's not actually with the Mehta company that's an augmented reality company. He's doing kind of his own thing called Mehta Labs. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that first of all, the thing that probably stuck with me the most about this interview was the insights that Rave had about the difference between competition and cooperation. He said that competition is whenever you want to take something that already exists and make it better. And so you have something that's already existing and you have all these different ways of listening to the audience and hearing what the audience wants. And so you have these different vectors of different ways that these companies are able to listen to the needs of the people, and if there's only one company, then it's difficult to have a forcing function on that other company to make them listen to the problems that those users are trying to solve. And so, with cooperation and collaboration, that's how new ideas are generated. And if you look at how our society is operating, you have academia, and that's where a lot of these new original ideas are coming from. You have this open publishing, and then you have this ability for companies to then take those ideas and start to take it from a genesis of an idea, start to create bespoke applications. And then eventually, it goes larger and larger into releases into the culture through consumer products. And eventually, it will go into mass ubiquity. Now, there's a couple of things that are blocking that flow. First of all, there's a competition of publishing companies that have got into the way of charging for access to the articles. And so It's not actually open access. There's very few actually open access when it comes to the highest levels of academic journals. And I think within that context, it's like a metaphor, a perfect metaphor for how much the idea of competition and capitalism has infused into every dimension of our society that is kind of blocking flow when it comes to the more collaborative aspects of our society. And in reality, we actually need a healthy combination of competition and collaboration. And that once you're able to take care of everybody's needs when it comes to housing and food and shelter and water, once you have that, then you start to get to the point where how much do you really need money? And then you start to become into more cooperative and gift economies. But until we're able to actually take care of everybody's fundamental needs, we kind of have this scarcity mindset and there's a lack of abundance, which is ruining the flow. Now, the other big thing that I took away is what Ravi was saying about the deflationary aspects of Bitcoin, such that there's only a limited amount of Bitcoin that's out there. And because of that, you can divide it up to 100 millionth of Bitcoin and that you're able to then force people rather than competing, then you start to want to collaborate a little bit more. At least that's his theory, is that with deflationary currencies, you start to encourage more of the cooperation than competition. However, I would say that with Bitcoin people are hoarding it right now. They have a Bitcoin that's worth over $6,000 at this point. Ravi at the time that this was courted back in July, that was before Bitcoin had really exploded to the point where it is now, he says it's going to go up to $100,000. So in some ways, though, that is kind of like the opposite mentality of flow. It's like the mentality of grabbing onto something and hoarding it and not actually spending it and using it. And I think that is the essence of what complementary currencies are intended to do. Once you have all your basic needs met, just like Burning Man is a perfect metaphor for that. You're able to meet all of your basic needs, and once you have that, then you're able to inspire all of this creativity. I just came from Patreon, and Patreon is all about having ways for your listeners to support creatives. And once creatives don't have to worry about surviving, then look out. Look out for what kind of flow and amazing creativity can flow from that. And if you listen to the Voices of VR podcast, Everything that I do on this podcast is because I have patreon supporters supporting this work and it is so important to continue to support this work so that I can get past a part of still struggling to even make ends meet and to not be able to deal with various emergencies that come up which I I feel like I'm kind of in the middle of and needing to really double or triple my productivity. But also just tell the story of why it's important to take these concepts of flow into your practice of giving. The Buddhists had it right with the Dharma. Whenever you go into a Buddhist Dharma talk, they don't ask for money. They ask to give freely of whatever you are able to give. And I just came from Patreon and unfortunately there's a bit of a bartering system mentality that has been infused within the technology stack of Patreon. On the one hand, they said actually with the people who just said, hey, you know, we're going to get rid of all the reward tiers, pay what you want and whatever you pay, you're going to get an equal treatment of everybody. And it's more about supporting artists rather than you paying to get some sort of specific reward. And the way that they built the technology, though, is for all these people who are creating specific rewards such that, you know, if you give a certain rate, then you get this. If you give a certain rate, you give that. So you're taking something that is ordinarily a gift economy, like the Voices of VR podcast is a gift. I would like for you to support me on Patreon by giving me a gift. Then, you go to the Patreon website, and right there, you have to immediately say, what level do you want to get? This is what you get if you give. Then, it changes something that was originally a gift economy exchange, and completely changes it into a barter exchange. The way that they've built the infrastructure is that it's built by default for this tiered system. All of the features that they're going to be building in the future is to support the furthering of this bartering tiered system, to be able to do more and more sophisticated rewards. My perspective is that in the gift economy, it's about the giving of the gift from the spirit of the gift. And that from you, if you have extra resources to give back to me, that's going to allow me to take care of all of my household's hierarchy of needs. I have to be able to pay all of my health care bills, all of my needs to buy a new computer because my keys are stuck and broken and I have to spend extra time and it gets me out of the flow. All these things that I need to be able to survive as a creative and an artist so that there's this freedom and liberation to be able to just create. I want to be able to launch the Voices of AI project, to launch the Esoteric Voices project, to be able to do webinars, to be able to do everything that I can do to be able to get this information out to you, for you to be able to do what you need to do within the VR community. And I think this concept as flow was so important and struck me so much that I actually named my LLC Flow & Veil, because I wanted to be able to unlock the mysteries of what it means to get into these flow states, and I want to be able to be in these flow states all the time. So, this podcast, I'm recording it in a new way, and I'm trying to optimize and streamline my production process, and I feel like I was trying out some new things that I feel like is working, and I feel like I'm on the path to be able to continue to crank out the Voices of VR, to be able to launch the Voices of AI project soon, and to hopefully be able to do different talks. Because the other thing that I just did was this talk at the Immersive Technology Conference, where I kind of synthesized everything that I've been thinking about. I heard from a lot of different people who have listened to maybe five or six different podcasts. And they told me, wow, after they watched this presentation, they kind of got a full trajectory and a full story of what I've been talking about on the Voices of VR. I'm trying to kind of lay out a large story and argument of over 252 interviews that I've done this year, over 115 hours worth of interviews, and I'm one by one going back and relativistically saying where I'm at right now, looking back into the past and contextualizing that moment of history and telling you this story just like this podcast is from July and right now is in November and I'm kind of looking back and saying actually right now this topic about flow is the most up thing that's up for me because it was just a conversation with creatives who were trying to find their flow and a lot of them were like you know what when I try to do this reward tier system it kind of breaks me out of my flow I just want to be able to like set it and not have to worry about it and just know that there's people on my back supporting me no matter what I do and that actually sort of flips me into this deeper state of flow so that I'm actually being able to tap into the things that I want to create the most and that as creators as we get into flow states then as you listen to this podcast right now or you listen to creators who are able to reach that depth of flow It's tuning you into the deeper flows of the archetypal dimensions of reality, such that if it is done well enough, then it's going to be a reflection of the collective, and then you'll be able to learn more about how you yourself are going to be able to get into that state of flow. So, that's the philosophy. yeah so that's all that i have for today and i kind of weave my pitch for patreon within this wrap-up here but i just wanted to just re-emphasize the fact that like i wouldn't be able to do what i do without the support that i get from patreon and I'm trying to figure out how I can basically like triple my productivity by getting in deeper and deeper into these flow states so that I can start to tell even more of the story both of virtual reality and artificial intelligence and all these other different esoteric traditions that I've been studying for years and years. Trying to just get to the place where I could start to potentially hire other people if I need to or to just do what I need to be able to support and grow this business. And then especially to give a lot more talks A big takeaway that I've had over the last couple of days is that whenever I am invited to give a talk or to give a webinar series, it crystallizes my thinking in a way that I'm able to have a direct interaction and conversation with my audience in a way that is completely in the quality of the moment of that time. And that when I'm able to do that, it is way better of a process of me of trying to like sit down and write a book. So I need to do these seminar series and these talks before I'm able to then kind of synthesize it into the text. Because text is a dead medium. Whenever I try to sit and write something, the vibrancy and the aliveness of it just dies. But whenever I just like sit down and try to just speak it out or be in dialogue and be on conversation with people who need to know that information, then that is what is actually invoking it for me. So I'm trying to find that process for my own creativity to be able to take all of this information and distill it down and to tell you the story of all of this stuff. So If you want to support me on this venture then please pay what you can Patreon isn't set up to be able to do pay what you want yet. It's sort of a broken workflow I'll probably be destroying all the tiers and just going to pay $1 minimum But you know pay whatever you want pay whatever you can I want to be able to make it so everybody has access to to everything that I'm doing on the Patreon and trying to listen to hear what other things are going to be really needed for this community and to really support the work that I'm doing here. So, you can become a member today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

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