DiscoverThe Tim Ferriss Show#657: Professor John Vervaeke — How to Build a Life of Wisdom, Flow, and Contemplation
#657: Professor John Vervaeke — How to Build a Life of Wisdom, Flow, and Contemplation

#657: Professor John Vervaeke — How to Build a Life of Wisdom, Flow, and Contemplation

Update: 2023-02-2320


Brought to you by Wealthfront high-yield savings account, Basecamp refreshingly simple project management, and Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating.

John Vervaeke (@vervaeke_john) is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He currently teaches courses on thinking and reasoning with an emphasis on cognitive development, intelligence, rationality, mindfulness, and the psychology of wisdom.

Vervaeke is the director of UToronto’s Consciousness and Wisdom Studies Laboratory and its Cognitive Science program, where he teaches Introduction to Cognitive Science and The Cognitive Science of Consciousness, emphasizing the 4E model, which contends that cognition and consciousness are embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended beyond the brain.

Vervaeke has taught courses on Buddhism and Cognitive Science in the Buddhism, Psychology, and Mental Health program for 15 years. He is the author and presenter of the YouTube series “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis” and his brand new series, ‘After Socrates.’

Please enjoy!

This episode is brought to you by Basecamp! Basecamp combines everything you need to manage your team and projects into one simple platform. Optimize your business with Basecamp and cut your inboxes and calendars in half. You can save time and money. Right now, Basecamp is offering a free 30-day trial. Plus, listeners of The Tim Ferriss Show get an exclusive discount: get 10% off your first year’s annual subscription when you sign up at


This episode is also brought to you by Wealthfront! Wealthfront is an app that helps you save and invest your money. Right now, you can earn 4.05% APY—that’s the Annual Percentage Yield—with the Wealthfront Cash Account. That’s more than twelve times more interest than if you left your money in a savings account at the average bank, according to 

It takes just a few minutes to sign up, and then you’ll immediately start earning 3.8% interest on your savings. And when you open an account today, you’ll get an extra fifty-dollar bonus with a deposit of five hundred dollars or more.  Visit to get started.


This episode is also brought to you by Eight Sleep! Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover is the easiest and fastest way to sleep at the perfect temperature. It pairs dynamic cooling and heating with biometric tracking to offer the most advanced (and user-friendly) solution on the market. Simply add the Pod Cover to your current mattress and start sleeping as cool as 55°F or as hot as 110°F. It also splits your bed in half, so your partner can choose a totally different temperature.

Go to and save $250 on the Eight Sleep Pod Cover. Eight Sleep currently ships within the USA, Canada, the UK, select countries in the EU, and Australia.


[05:31 ] The four ways of knowing (4P).

[10:15 ] Affordances.

[13:04 ] Semantic memory.

[13:37 ] Flow.

[27:03 ] Did John find Tai Chi, or did Tai Chi find him?

[29:46 ] Leaving Christianity.

[34:42 ] Wisdom vs. knowledge.

[36:54 ] Self-deception.

[41:53 ] When is logic the illogical choice for solving a problem?

[46:05 ] The powers and perils of intuition.

[55:05 ] Spotting patterns that need breaking.

[59:18 ] Meditation vs. contemplation.

[1:05:30 ] Misunderstanding love.

[1:06:36 ] Circling.

[1:12:28 ] “God is related to the world the way the mind is related to the body.”

[1:14:34 ] A non-theist in the no-thingness.

[1:24:03 ] Responsive poiesis and Sufism.

[1:27:31 ] Neoplatonism.

[1:29:16 ] Seminal moments.

[1:31:36 ] Pierre Hadot.

[1:32:43 ] Two books.

[1:34:38 ] Potent poetry.

[1:37:40 ] The four Es.

[1:42:38 ] Two bonus Es.

[1:45:24 ] Heretical beliefs.

[1:54:12 ] Panpsychism.

[2:00:56 ] Most unusual modes of cognition.

[2:02:37 ] Jordan Peterson.

[2:10:27 ] Opponent processing.

[2:13:53 ] How to support friends endeavoring to lead meaningful lives.

[2:17:50 ] After Socrates.

[2:21:44 ] Western words.

[2:25:11 ] John’s changing perspective of experienced reality.

[2:28:01 ] Something old, something new.


For show notes and past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, please visit

For deals from sponsors of The Tim Ferriss Showplease visit

Sign up for Tim’s email newsletter (5-Bullet Friday) at

For transcripts of episodes, go to

Discover Tim’s books:

Follow Tim: 


Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther Perel, <a href="

Comments (3)


What was the second book He named ? Can't understand it in the audio.

Mar 19th

Krishna Prasad

one of the most out there and nebulous episodes, I had to stop half way through. Hats off to TF for handling any topic under the sun with such competence

Feb 27th


03:19 to skip ads.

Feb 23rd
In Channel
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store








Sleep Timer


End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

#657: Professor John Vervaeke — How to Build a Life of Wisdom, Flow, and Contemplation

#657: Professor John Vervaeke — How to Build a Life of Wisdom, Flow, and Contemplation