In our hyper-connected world, a major concern for many is the idea that intellectual dialogue would be eclipsed by the deluge of dumbed down, listicle, low-character-count content that is abundant across the internet.
Cue Jason Silva.
The filmmaker and host of National Geographic’s Brain Games is the antithesis to the notion that it’s just the light content that goes viral. Silva’s YouTube creation – Shots of Awe - package deep philosophical discussions into “espresso shots,” as he calls them, to stimulate the mind and provoke thought, covering existential crises to human creativity to the idea of God.
And he does it all in a rather Jeff Koonsian manner - sophisticated yet accessible, whimsical and theatrical yet intelligent.
The online popularity of the series (it has over a 100,000 subscribers on YouTube) is thankfully also a reflection of a wider thirst for good stories and smart ideas.
Here he answers the Proust Questionnaire:
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Leveraging Ontological design: what we design, designs us back. Our happiness can be induced, can be created, by the artful construction of our spaces, experiences and contexts. The mind is coupled to the world; we cannot remove the self from what surrounds it. Our context is our reality. But what we can do is edit our context, co-author it. Take control over our lives.
2. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Hmmmm. I like Freud, Jung, Ernest Becker. Thinkers who pushed the envelope.
3. Which talent would you most like to have?
It would be nice to speak a dozen languages. That would certainly expand ones horizons.
4. Who are your favourite writers?
Erik Davis, Ernest Becker, Ray Kurzweil.
5. Who is your favourite fictional hero?
6. What is your motto?
Follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell used to say.