Jason Silva is the Emmy-nominated host of National Geographic Channel’s #1 rated and Emmy-nominated series, Brain Games, seen in over 100 countries. “A Timothy Leary of the Viral Video Age” was how The Atlantic described television personality, filmmaker and philosopher Silva, who has also been described as “part Timothy Leary, part Ray Kurzweil, and part Neo from ‘The Matrix.’”
A self-professed wonderjunkie, Silva is the creator of the web series SHOTS OF AWE, micro-documentaries exploring creativity, innovation, the co-evolution of human and technology, futurism, metaphysics, existentialism and the human condition.
Silva’s work has been featured in The Economist, Vanity Fair, Forbes and Wired, among many others.
Jason Silva: To be totally and completely honest, to me, you know, to create any kind of art, to immortalize an inspired moment and hold it in stasis is, again, what mankind has always done. You know, I’m not a religious person. But, when I look at a beautiful cathedral, what brings awe, what induces awe is the idea that architecture, you know, a beautiful cathedral, a beautiful building. A jet engine as an attempt to hold a transcendent moment in stasis, to immortalize a fleeting moment of insight and turn it into something that can be enjoyed and perceived and shared and consumed by other people.
So I make the videos as an antidote to existential malaise. Like ever since I read Ernest Becker’s book, The Denial of Death, which was the Pulitzer Prize-winning book from 1974 that says mankind has a collective neurosis not because of sexual repression, which is what Freud used to say, but because of the anxiety about our mortality, this creature that can sort of predict its own death. We’re the only species that can look into the future and know that we’re going to die one day and it causes all sorts of cognitive stress on your system. So we find diversions to transcend that feeling of being ultimately food for worms and our diversions have led to the religious impulse, the romantic impulse and the creative impulse.
And I think what we do when we’re at our most creative is we transcend death temporarily. You know, we get off on awe. We get consumed by something greater than ourselves, seemingly, you know, the Dionysian ****, the intoxication of creation. And that feeling, I find, temporarily, gets rid of my anxiety about being mortal, you know, being naked and feeling like no matter what I do, no matter what we all do, we’re still kind of on that moving walkway that's carrying everyone else towards death. But, in the meantime, to be beheld by awe, you know, aesthetic arrest, wonder, inspiration, these things are - this is how we defy entropy, by creating beauty and order and complexity.
As Terence McKenna tells us, we are already magical creatures.