The Art of Losing Control (2017)


The Art of Losing Control (Canongate: 2017)

Buy the book here.

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.

‘A captivating exploration of humanity’s journey to self-transcendence’. Prospect magazine

‘A wild, wondrous, wide-eyed journey.’ The Psychologist magazine

Compelling…Evans’ skill as a story-teller, like his sensitivity as a thinker, is never in doubt’. The Guardian

Evans is a natural story-teller and his honesty about his own experience is      refreshing and disarming. He takes his subject matter seriously but delivers his investigations in an endlessly amusing and eye-opening manner.’ The Big Issue

‘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

Sarah Halliday