West of Jesus

West of Jesus

Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief

Book - 2006
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Baker & Taylor
Shares the author's spiritual quest in the wake of a devastating bout with Lyme disease, detailing his surfing odyssey around the world in search of a mysterious legend about a mythical surfer who can control the weather.

McMillan Palgrave
A spiritual and scientific surf quest.

After spending two years in bed with Lyme disease, Steven Kotler had lost everything: his health, his job, his girl, and, he was beginning to suspect, his mind. Kotler, not a religious man, suddenly found himself drawn to the sport of surfing as if it were the cornerstone of a new faith. Why, he wondered, when there was nothing left to believe in, could he begin to believe in something as unlikely as surfing. What was belief anyway? How did it work in the body, the brain, our culture, and human history?

Into this mix came a strange story. In 2003, on a surf trip through Mexico, Kotler heard of "the conductor," a mythical surfer who could control the weather. He'd heard this same tale eight years earlier, in Indonesia, but this time something clicked. With the help of everyone from rebel surfers to rocket scientists, Kotler undertakes a three year globetrotting quest for the origins of this legend. The results are a startling mix of big waves and bigger ideas: a surfer's journey into the biological underpinnings of belief itself.



Blackwell North Amer
Steven Kotler almost drowned when he got caught on the wrong side of a wave in Mexico. As he emerged from the water, battered and torn, a fellow surfer told him, "It looks like the Conductor had his way with you." This was the second time Kotler had heard of this "Conductor" - the mythical surfer who controls the weather and the waves. Strangely, it was nearly a decade earlier in Indonesia that he was introduced to this mysterious troublemaker for the first time. He almost drowned that time, too.
After suffering from Lyme disease for two years, Kotler loses the perfect job, the perfect girl and much of what had been the perfect life. With nothing of any meaning left to him, Kotler sets out to surf around the world in search of the Conductor. As he regains his strength, he begins to have mystical experiences, not unlike those hinted at in the Conductor's myth. In spite of being a committed skeptic, Kotler had out-of-body experiences, felt time stoppages, had moments of ecstasy. Could this be standard neurochemistry triggered by flashes of adrenaline and other brain chemicals? Was he achieving some kind of transcendence? Or was he just losing his mind?
In West of Jesus, Steven Kotler starts out on an admittedly mad quest and ends up at the peculiar intersection of neuroscience, spirituality and sport. The results are a startling mix of big waves and bigger ideas: a surfer's journey into the biology of belief.

Baker
& Taylor

The author of The Angle Quickest for Flight shares his spiritual quest in search of the ultimate sport of surfing in the wake of a devastating bout with Lyme disease, detailing his three-year surfing odyssey around the world in search of a mysterious legend about a mystical surfer with the power to control the weather.

Publisher: New York, NY : Bloomsbury Pub. : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2006
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781596910515
1596910518
Characteristics: 261 p. ; 22 cm

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bookpatty
Apr 06, 2011

Pleasantly surprised that this wasn't too esoteric or based in "stoner philosophy". I liked the blend of mythological, religious, sciencific and personal spiritual search that Kotler goes on. While I've never dropped in on an over head high wave or felt time "freeze" while surfing before, I have had that feeling when in a car accident and felt that I've been in the flow snowboarding and skateboarding, so I look forward to experiencing the same on a longboard some day...or a short board if I ever get back on one of those.

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