We have picked the mind of Jason Silva, most commonly described as “part Timothy Leary, part Ray Kurzweil, and part Neo from The Matrix.” Jason Silva is a modern day performance philosopher, energetic thought explorer and in simplest terms a video-maker.
Jason Silva has us constantly picking up our jaws off the ground. Before reading the interview below, get a taste of Silva’s flowing techno-optimism, through his video – THE BEGINNING OF INFINITY, made with media developers Notthisbody.
What about being from Venezuala do you think spawned your interest in technology, spirituality and biology? I’m not sure it was Venezuela per say, but rather an early love affair with big ideas – I studied at an international school with classmates from dozens of different countries and cultures. I enjoyed the melting pot of perspectives … I had an affinity for the novel and the different — and since high school I used to curate these ‘salons’, inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s ‘intellectual parties’, where fellow thinkers would get together and wax philosophical about transcendent ideas. We got off on AWE.
What was a dream you had this past week that did not lack reality? I’m always dreaming about the ‘Adjacent Possible’ – a shadow future, a map of all the ways the present can re-invent itself. We must always dream: its how we project distinct and delightful future possibilities in our heads, so that we may choose the best of all possible futures, and then pull the present forward to meet it. I’m interested in bottling these ecstatic visions, these dreams. It’s what I try to do in my short videos.
If you were to have a theme song play when you entered the room, what would that be? There are so many great songs to choose from— one of my favorites is ‘Time’ by Hans Zimmer, from the Inception Soundtrack — I like to set my adventures to music– to infuse experience with melody. We all want our lives to feel like those films that inspire us— well, an easy hack is to set our lives to music.
What is an app or device you have been recently geeking out over? I recently switched to the iPhone, after an extensive affair with the blackberry… and I really do marvel at it- It’s part of my Extended Mind…. part of my outsourced cognition – SOMETHING WE CAN AFFORD TODAY THAT A BILLIONAIRE COULDN’T BUY A HUNDRED YEARS AGO. That’s exponential progress.
What is your favorite life noise? Favorite life noise? I suppose its anytime I unexpectedly hear a familiar tune.
If you were to cast yourself in any film or TV sitcom what character would you play and why? I would be David Aames in Vanilla Sky (that’s the Tom Cruise character who seeks immortality thru an extended lucid dream while being cryogenically frozen, to reconnect with his lost love). I also love Ethan Hawke in Before Sunrise … always related to that character … a seeker, a wanderer … looking for meaning and love.
What is overrated culturally right now? What is underrated? Mindless entertainment seems, at times, overrated… especially when it competes with meaningful discourse and stimulation. I’d prefer to watch TED talks to Jersey Shore any day of the week. I think technology and optimism is not talked about enough in proper context. Our media feeds us Doom and Gloom, when in fact things are improving all the time!
What is something or someone you recommend the people reading this interview have on their radar? We have never been more empowered… each of us… to make a positive impact on the world. Our digital tools extend our thought, reach and vision… we are free to re-invent our possibilities… It’s up to us to leverage these technologies and our popular will to create the world we’ve always wanted to live in. Biology is becoming an information technology — we are learning to reprogram the canvas of life itself. New Artists will write genomes the way poets wrote verses. Singularity University should be on everyone’s radar: teaching people about exponentially emerging technologies and how they can be leveraged to address the grand challenges of humanity.
What is your most recent accomplishment? I was thrilled to speak at Google recently, as well as The Economist Ideas Conference on Innovation and creativity. It’s nice that my short videos have generated some buzz, and The Atlantic recently did a fantastic, extensive profile interview on my creative work.
What is your go-to catchphrase? There are so many… but lately: “TO UNDERSTAND IS TO PERCEIVE PATTERNS” ISAIAH BERLIN.