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Riding Flow States: Jason Silva’s Philosophical Shots of Awe and Wonder

Whenever I feel bored or uninspired, I watch a Jason Silva video. I like to think of him as the Terence McKenna of the digital age.

He’s a hard guy to pin down, he’s a technofuturist, digital filmmaker and an insanely interesting spoken word philosopher. He has a remarkable ability to channel today’s brightest thinkers and reveal to us the awe and wonder of our human existence.

I have watched all of his videos many times. In each video, he weaves together disparate yet connected ideas like the Singularity, neuroscience, enlightenment, transcendence, the Internet and rapture into what he calls philosophical shots of espresso.

He is a master of combining brilliant quotes, fascinating visuals and mind-expanding ideas for maximum impact.

I have include some of my favourite Jason Silva videos along with the most inspiring quotes mentioned in each video.

1. The Hero’s Journey

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. Why not try and live your own epic hero’s journey.

2. Find Your Creative Flow State

“The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself.” – Steven Johnson

Jason Silva explains the headspace of flow, the place where dreams are born. Be a virtuoso of your imagination.

3. Exploring Space: Cosmic Revolutionaries

When we dream of space, we dream of transcendence. We dream of what we might become. – Marina Benjamin

We are the microcosm of the Universe. When we explore the cosmos, we awaken our minds.

4. Singularity: The Omega Point

“We are the frontal lobes of the Universe.” – Carl Sagan

We evolve through the technological tools we create. The approaching singularity is a metaphor to describe the indescribable nature of our creative universe accelerating in its capacity to be creative.

5. The Mirroring Mind

All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. – Bill Hicks

Apparently, you are the Universe experiencing itself. In your mirroring mind is the Universe.

6. Radical Openness

Our ability to create virtual models in our heads, combined with our modest-looking thumbs, was sufficient to usher in the secondary force of evolution called technology. And it will continue until the entire Universe is at our fingertips. – Ray Kurzweil

There has been more change in the last 100 years than the previous 1 billion. Radical openness is the engine of this evolution.

 7. To Understand Is To Perceive Patterns

“I believe that mycelium is the neurological network of nature. I see the mycelium as the Earth’s natural Internet, a consciousness with which we might be able to communicate. Through cross-species interfacing, we may one day exchange information with these sentient cellular networks.” – Paul Stamets

Technology is an expander of human consciousness. The global brain we call the Internet is accelerating our collective intelligence.

8. Awe

ATTENTION, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement” – Charles Darwin.

Rapture. Illumination. Awe and wonder. Radiant ecstasy. Jason Silva talks about the moments that shape and transform our existence.

9. The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck

Though philosophy has hardly registered it, the Hubble has given us nothing less than an ontological awakening, a forceful reckoning with what is. The telescope compels the mind to contemplate space and time on a scale just shy of the infinite. – Ross Anderson

Awe is evolutionary advantageous, it informs our life with a sense of cosmic significant and it motivates us.

10. Technium

“Our mission as humans is not only to discover our fullest selves in the technium, and to find full contentment, but to expand the possibilities for others. Greater technology will selfishly unleash our talents, but it will also unselfishly unleash others: our children, and all children to come.” – Kevin Kelly

Technologically mediated telepathy, mind-to-mind communication through our digital devices. Amazing.

Have Jason Silva’s philosophical shots of awe and wonder inspired you?

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  1. Jason Silva is not a philosopher and he is not an artist. He is a magician of the mind and if you take him seriously as anything else, he has already fooled you.

    In the film, Red Lights Dr. Margaret Matheson, a paranormal hoaxes investigator, warns us:
    “There are two kind of people out there with special gifts.
    The one who really think they have some kind of power
    and the other guys, who think we can’t figure them out.
    They are both wrong.”
    Dr. Margaret forgot another kind of people:
    The ones who, undetected, but in plain sight leech on both of the above people.
    Probably, to most people surprise, Jason Silva suffers from what I would coin, Buckley’s syndrome (Buckley from the physicist character in the film): Jason has the honest belief that he is unfolding his mind’s thoughts to an audience without inducing fraud, but actually it is all a fraud. However, it is not Silva’s fraud, it is the fraud of its fallacious logic full of deceptive semantic connectivity. In the same way, in the film, it is not the fraud of Buckley (He appears to be a physicist, and yet, he was a psychic in the film). The fraud, however, comes from the film director, who forced us to believe that shift of situation in a very unconvincing way.
    We have a concept in mathematics in the field of topology called, homeomorphism or topological isomorphism. To have a visual representation of it please view the link below:…
    We see two dissimilar objects, a coffee mug and a doughnut through a continuous de-formation become the same or change into one another. Now, topological isomorphism follows a basic rule: Only if one can be continuously deformed into the other, else there is not such correlation.
    Jason Silva attempts to do some similar deformation with the fundamental meanings of some words and how they relate to each other, but many times, in his euphoria, he over step his mark and his de-formations of meanings are not really happening in a continuum even when his tone of voice and enthusiasm are trying very hard to convince you so.
    Don’t forget this, Jason is trying to deceive us just like the magician does (Remember his Brain Games serie?), but the magician does it visually while Jason does it mentally.
    But let’s find out in Jason’s own words such semantic gymnastics.
    Jason Silva, lightheartedly, tells us his new definition of billionaire:
    “Someone who positively affects the lives of a billion people!”
    Even when I feel what he is saying in a kind of fogy way, the fog is almost negligible because simultaneously it feels catchy and sticky. But lets ruminate a bit in his logic. What made something positive? If we were talking about “positive” as a positive in the NOW, sure, for as long as we don’t know or don’t care to know that there are kind of effortless “positive” impacts on people which fade away quickly and need of constant replaying because they just shine from outside, but burn fast and slip through your finger from inside.
    Research has shown that humans at most can truly affect other humans and impact them from within in a community no larger than 135 individuals. Sorry, Jason, your euphoria is pretentious and inaccurate. Remote viewing and technology as extension of human senses do not impact human in a lasting and organic way and to assume so is to cheerfully de-humanise us no matter how much passionate and loving “poetic” tone you are confetting into it.
    A magician can affect positively the lives of a billion people for as long as the illusions he plays at people are recognised as illusions and everyone is in for a laugh.
    However, what happens when someone affects the lives of a billion people but we are not told and we don’t recognise his magic as illusions even when they certainly are? What happens when those positives “shots of awe” are mere ephemeral placebos? What happens when the “positive” impact has not endurance? There is a simple answer: When something craves to be delivered by “shots”, it is, no doubt, because it easily fast decay into the negative.
    Think about it, no all “positive” things contain such holy grail ingredient, the ingredient of endurance and lasting impact.
    So, Jason, our brave new billionaire, as the Roman Emperor, has no clothes as he marvels us with his speech new shiny armour.
    Do you remember Silva’s Brain Games optical illusions. Then, you would understand what it means “coherently constructed semantic illusions”. That’s what Jason does. He just has moved from the optical illusion of the visual field to the semantic illusions, not of the mental field, but of his mental field. He is just not telling us, as he used to.
    Jason Silva has not an awe inspiring, but an “awe” shattering brilliance in the art of hocus-pocus rhetoric.

  2. I think Jason Silva’s work is great, but comparing him to Terence Mckenna is pushing it, McKenna was on a whole different level…Silva does get the message out to a bigger audience though, and in a more comprehensive way.

    Thanks for sharing these videos!

    1. He’s awesome but I agree the Terence Mckenna comparison is pushing it. I can’t think of anyone else in the world today who is in the same league as Terence was.

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