The general hypothesis was that by descending into madness and emerging, the scope and range of normal perception is pushed creating a new state of normal - one without the self deception, stress, anxiety and myopic world view that has become the average existential condition.
Pushing the threshold
So in my opinion this hypothesis makes sense, but in regards to world view it’s a single vertical. That is to say that the mechanism applies to living systems across the board due to the property of metabolism:
The flow of energy and resources across a membrane. The wider the “scope and range” the more resilient the organism. Sounds like the hyper sanity example above right? It probably is, and we can reframe it countless times to see the effect in action. Let’s do so:
This is the most common example of hormesis. Go to the gym, stress your system with some anaerobic exercise and then rest. When recovered go back and do a little more, this is how you get stronger.
Intermittent fasting is a favourite of the health hackers. Same principal; don’t eat most of the time which lightly stresses your system, then eat during a short window — repeat.
This ones perhaps less obvious but those of us that were around for various financial booms like the dot com bubble or the ICO rush of 2017 seem to have a pretty different take on money. It went up, pushed the threshold, then went down. As a result many people experienced a mental shift in how they think about units of account… and generally seem more financially resilient than your average Joe in retail.
Have a go at reading at with Accelareader and note the base rate your comfortable starting with. Turn up the word count until you can no longer keep up, back off just a bit and read for a while at a higher speed. Return to your base rate — does it seem a bit slow all of a sudden?
I’m a juggler and have been since a teenager. One of the things I noticed when I started juggling five balls was how much more accurate I was with three having learned to work at a faster pace.
Ever been driving on a highway and then turned off into a town? Dropping a couple of gears just like the previous two examples — everything suddenly feels super slow. Your threshold has shifted!
That ever famous dutch man again! Well, the benefits of these have been talked about a million times; while no expert my simple guess is that the extremes are pushing the threshold once again. Your immune system responds by saying thanks!
Researchers regularly put a ton of effort into figuring out a problem, then burnt out they stop for a bit to take a break and *plop* an answer from universe drops into their head while resting… the evolution of mental resiliency.
I’m done writing for now but play with the idea. You’ll find it across all sorts of realms like muscle or eye sight rehabilitation, inoculation and immunity in medicine and probably thousands of other places. It’s how you get good at stuff or build resiliency — the old saying holds “what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger”!