285 - Jason Silva & Marie Forleo on Ideas, Technology & The Future
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Hey it's Marie forleo and you are watching TV the place to be to create a business S. and life you love so if you're anything like me you love subjects like technology and creativity and spirituality and thinking about how all of these incredible universes universes are coming together. Miraculous ways will my guest today is one of the leading thinkers speakers and philosophers on this topic and so much more call Timothy Leary of the viral video age by the Atlantic Jason Silva delivers philosophical shots of Espresso which unravel the incredible possibilities the future has has to offer the human race host of national geographics hit show brain games. Jason Silva is an extraordinary new breed philosopher who meshes philosophical wisdom of the ages with an infectious optimism for the future using his series of short videos which play as movie trailers for Ideas Jason Explores the CO evolution of humans and and technology and have garnered over two million views jason has been featured in CBS News the Atlantic. The economist Vanity Fair Forbes wired Ted Dot Com among others and he was also featured as part of the gap icons campaign an idea DJ and visual poet. Jason Silva is above all an optimist and curator of by DEA inspiration and all Jason. Thank you so much for being here today. How food you so much for having me sell. I know we're going to talk about a lot of really cool. Things Creativity tippety future ism all kinds of stuff but actually want to start off going back to the past so I know that oftentimes we can see the seeds of who someone is is to become what they're meant to do in this world when we look in the past and I know that you actually started doing these salons in your house. Can you tell us a little bit about that. Jesus Sir I grew up in Venezuela and I used to go to an international school so my friends were all over the world and all the time we had new kids coming into the school because their parents were working for multinational national companies so they'd be stationed there so people were new all the time in the school and one of the ways that we made people feel at home right away was used to organize them and bring them invite them into my crew and I used to organize these salons in my house and basically they were idea jams we would share books and scenes from movies that we love then we drank wine nine and we hung out and Venezuela you can buy alcohol it pretty young age but yeah I always I always loved ideas and I always loved recording ideas because one of the things that sort of haunted me from a very young age was that inspiration was really fleeting. Inspiration was defined by its permanence and so my way of like arresting bad of capturing these he's inspired exchanges with my friends was through the camera so I pretty much had video cameras since I was twelve and had been documenting my mind gems ever since then. That's incredible ever look back on those. Yes yes as a matter of fact could even show you a little clip if you want. Definitely we're GONNA make that you're GONNA see four hundred thirty. Two traffic's okay cool. Is that where you started thinking to yourself. Okay I want to do this for my life. I think so yeah I I always loved the movies and I always loved getting kind of immersed in cinema and I thought that cinema was the best way to mediate mediate encounters with transcendence and inspiration. You know I didn't grow up religious at all so I didn't get that from traditional religious spaces but to me cinemas the last altar left cinema was the place where I felt like I- transcended the ego and I connected with something larger than myself whether it was the characters or their mythic journey or their transformation transformation whatever was to me. Cinema was Cathartic so there was no doubt that I was going to go to film school and get involved in making content in some capacity but because I was kind of a child hi of the digital revolution I was responding to the restrictions liberations that came with that so rather than going the route of trying to make feature length films or docs. I fell in love with the short form college and the fact that I had a video camera since I was twelve had shown me that I could have really quick turnarounds. That's the thing about digital video. It's like you could just shoot it if it looked cool on the little viewfinder than you could repeat record and you can really capture the moment and you could very quickly turn that around and so. I- after that there it was just no way that I could go to the more slow production vibe you know. I just had to keep it at that speed and that has that's been my journey's. That's incredible and so we're you both behind behind the camera and in front of the camera. I originally was all about directing so when I was like twelve thirteen fourteen I would direct my little brother and we do these spoofs short films and so on and so forth and have blast and at the time I had no editing equipment so I had to edit in real time in my head and we shot in sequence and the cuts were in my head and I'd start start and stop and do the next shot and so on and so forth and but it was really in like later in highschool with those salons sessions that was videotaping that I started to turn the camera on on myself so not only was I videotape my friends and and sort of mind mind jamming conversations that were happening but at some point I sort of felt like if I wanted to narrate or say something I was like okay. Hey just hold the camera and I just had a camera my friend. I start like yapping about something and then later on. I was surprised that my my rantings are actually somewhat lucid you know because at the time I had no real experience of the minute you put the camera on me I would get self conscious but but in those instances I was able to be in no mind state and actually get in the zone on and get into flow and this was the best stuff seemed to emerge so then at that point it became. I still wanted to control the creative but I was like you know what I can narrate my own stuff. Yeah I mean and you're you're absolutely stunning on it and that's actually I was so excited. When I came across one of your most popular videos I was like I have got to get in touch with Jason. I need him on ATV because you are absolutely you're born to do this in. You're brilliant. Absolutely you're welcome so let's talk more about creativity. You think creativity is just one of those. It's just just such a fascinating subject. I'm Marie TV. Were always coming up with ideas and everything else. We do in the business for you when it comes to creativity. Do you think that there's ever in new ideas everything in interational version of something that's come before that's that's. I kind of fall in line with that notion that everything is kind of a remix. Everything builds it's on pre existing knowledge base and creative people are people that are able to connect the dots in a new way arrange the Legos in a different order but but using the same building blocks. There's actually a series on the web. That's really popular called. Everything is a remix that's genius and it just shows a lot of things that we consider original or actually again a remix of what came before and so that's where. I think that whole notion about steal like an artist or you know good artists borrow great artists steal because the the truth of the matter is everything builds on what came before so as long as you site where your inspiration comes from or you give credit to wear you're connecting the dots from beyond that that I think we all kind of share in that space in which ideas can have sex and they should all belong to all of us. Yes actually that's what I wanted to talk about next. I thought it was such an interesting turn of phrase. Obviously it's like a little bit saucy a little bit. Sassy talk to me about ideas having sex and why you're so passionate about bringing these very interesting thing amazing philosophical philosophical concepts and packaging them in a mainstream way that everybody can get well that term ideas having sex rex. I think it came after I read Steven Johnson's book where good ideas come from a natural history of innovation which is a dazzling book about the origin of ideas and he writes a lot there about how we need to create a space ecology of thought and he talks about how cities are fertile spaces uses for ideas to have sex because of the density of the way people are arranged near each other people from different backgrounds co mingling together sprouts new re combinations of ideas. He talks about the rise of coffee shop as another instance in history that led to a lot of ideas because you put a lot of people in a small space you give them lots of caffeine and ideas intermingle mutate and sprout and in the age of the Internet all of a sudden even the city even though it's still a very creative place. It's not a necessary precursor anymore because the age of the Internet we transcend distance and time and space itself so now anybody who is interested in anything can coalesce around someone else was interested in the same thing and they can have that kind of ideas idea sex but I love the metaphor of talking about ecology or space where ideas which are like organisms can have sex which is the whole the solution of we went from a world of jeans a world of memes so ideas these memes are these living things ideas leap from brain to brain. They compete for the resources verses of our attention. They have infectivity. They have spreading power. This notion that ideas are live is is a wonderful idea and actually I remember in one of your videos. You talked about about how they retain some of the characteristics of organisms and that just kind of blew my mind. I want to hear Jason Talk about that. Well that was Richard Dawkins in the selfish office gene I believe in the seventies this book where he introduced the term me and of course meam rhymes with jeans and he says you know we used to live in world where information was only exchanged through sex sexual reproduction that's how genetic information mixed with other genetic information but with culture with language all of a sudden and we had this new information technology that allowed us to encode information in vocal patterns and transmitted through time and space outside of DNA that was a new you replicator writing allowed us to encode information. Take it outside of the mind and put it over there and let it spread. Let other people read it so it was this is this notion that at that point we went from a world of genes to a world of memes and that this new replicator accelerated our capacity to transform form the world because it just it started building and building and building and building and building and now we live in that we have the global nervous system where information is traveling faster than ever. I mean it's it's a wild space right yeah. It's refined thoughts travelling at the speed of light. It's so exciting to me and often times. I just really stop and think about how much I I love the Internet. I talk about unlike it. I remember getting online for the first time in going. I can reach people in another part of the world that would never never have a chance to connect with on a spiritual level on any level and it literally makes me want to jump Outta my skin. I think there was a famous Jesuit priest called tailored discharged in and he talked about the Omega Point and the acceleration of technology is leading towards this apex where we all kind of merge into this Super Meta organism. He refer to it as the new US fear that rises above the biosphere so it's this membrane is going to surround the earth. That's all mind. It's all thought it's all the thoughts of billions of people finally becoming this sort of Meta organism and it's a wild idea but think about it. I mean you create a piece of content that doesn't it just inspire the people in this room but that inspire somebody in South Korea or in Berlin and it might change the book that they decide to read that day which might change changed the major that they go for in college which might then change the course of human evolution because they might invent something so. It's like we do now. Ideas are a force of evolution Russian and the fact that our ideas are unbounded by normal Euclidean meet space limitations of distance and time means that we're in this world where thought ought travels at the speed of light and thought evolves and mutates and wow knows where that's going to go but it's an exciting time if used wisely. How much do you love that. Were alive right now. And how much do you love especially given what you do and your skill set and your passion yeah one hundred percent. I mean look technology gets a lot of criticism and that's because technology always been a double edged sword and I understand I mean when we discovered fire. It's been famously says you could use fire to cook your food and and that led to this acceleration or capacity to absorb nutrients and it freed us to have all this time to think and so on and so forth but you can also use fire to burn your enemies you can use the alphabet to write Shakespearean sonnets that enrich the imagination or you can use the alphabet composed hate speech and lead people to kill each other so technology extends but it can extend into any direction and it's how we use these tools ultimately determines if they're good at her bad but I haven't unwavering belief leave that if you look at the macro trends overall. We tend to use these things for good Steven. Johnson wrote a whole other book about that future perfect where he talks about look. It's not utopia but it's leaning that way. The world has never been less violent than it is today contrary to what you see in the Media Steven Pinker Old Myth of violence Ted talk says that the chances this is a man dying at the hands of another man or the lowest than they've ever been in the history of man. yeah if you watch game of thrones. It's like Whoa thank God. We're not there anymore. Totally totally totally but you know again. The media is doom and gloom so it makes you almost think that the world is going to hell when in fact there's a lot of things that are going right and and so again it's how we use these tools was ultimately they will determine our fate. I do believe though that now. It's more up to us than it's ever been. I think we're the chief agents of evolution solution now so evolution now has mind attached to it so we'd better use our minds wisely and use these tools for the common good. I think yeah no one hundred percent in which brings me to what I think is one of your favorite subjects to getting deeper into the future and I know you and I are both fans this idea the singularity for anyone one watching who's not familiar with that term okay so the singularity. There's a lot written and said about this idea. it's actually originally a physics term so it's a term that's. Information Technology futurists borrow from physics and originally the meaning is what happens when you go through a black hole and apparently the laws of physics kind of collapse when you go through that black hole so you can't really you can't really know what what happens when you go through it and so it's it's it's a metaphor that's been borrowed to describe a moment when the packs of information technology coalescing artificial intelligence the biotechnology revolution volusia reprogramming our biology and the nanotechnology revolution which turns like matter into a programmable medium everything the level of the atom becomes manipulable and so essentially these three overlapping revolutions are predicted to lead us towards a moment that after which is impossible for us to predict what happens next week because when we EH radically extend our cognitive capacities with digital tools infinitely more advanced digital tools even than what we have today or when we create a non biological mind and which is coming soon. I mean there's the blue brain. Project is spending over a billion dollars to create a digital sentence and the whole point is that this mind wouldn't be bound by the physical limitations that we have. We're fifty six K modem. You know we're we're. We're at one point. Oh imagine like a nine point zero mind on the silicon on that can upgrade itself so the whole point is trying to imagine the new sublime mind spaces that will emerge is like like trying to explain to a chimp the nuances of Shakespearean sonnet. It's just no matter how bright the chimp is. He can't get the nuances of of language and so that's where it gets excited because I think the singularity open the the the metaphor it just it opens us to the possibility of imagining the NFL imagining the almost impossible to imagine and so it lends itself to wonderful speculation. I think a lot of speculation for me. I get very very excited by you know Ray Kurzweil abundance all of that stuff. I can't get enough whenever I read or hear talk with people about in like. Oh so scary and I know that at one point you said you know what if what if that consciousness is actually more empathetic. It's like I had never heard that perspective before because everyone thinks about it. It's like the machines are coming. That's it. We're going to get totally. So what do you think about that. I mean and I thought that was such. Does that tie into your do you have spiritual beliefs. I mean not traditional ones. I grew up in a secular Jewish household but my mom is an artist and a poem so I think our religion was art. Art Is transcendent you know and I defy transcendence As when the sum of the parts adds up to more than the parts you know you put you put materials together in a certain way and what results exceeds seeds those materials and music and art and languages so transcendent and so that's that's my version of spirituality but to answer your question you know we've always been scared of change disruption when when writing was invented. I've read that socrates used to being opposed to it because he says if we write things down. We won't have to remember anything and so our brains will rot so there's been you know. The establishment of the time is afraid eight of these new disruptive tools because they shake up the status quo and I think it's the same fear that people had about video games. Oh you are GONNA make us. All you know violent or they're gonNA atrophy trophy our brains when in fact it's found out you know video games. Engage your problem solving skills engage your strategy skills and your brain and all these amazing ways you know. I don't know if you've heard of the book. Reality is broken. It's all about the power of game mechanics to help save the world. I'm going to read it and so I think we'll be surprised by how we have the possibility awesome ability of using these tools in wonderful ways and how if we do create a non biological mind it's going to have everything that's wonderful but humans exponentially multiplied you know and there's a great idea. Kevin Kelly than I I always was a big inspiration. He co-founded wired magazine and just imagine for a second how impoverished we'd be if if we didn't invent oil painting technology in time for Van Gogh's genius to unfurl through it or if we didn't invent musical annotation or the instrument both technologies analogies in time for Beethoven's genius to kind of emerge through that so if we rob ourselves creating these new tools we'd be robbing ourselves of the next Beethoven the next Mozart the next Van Gogh who are going to use these tools to build things. We can't even imagine yes and that's what's really exciting what I'm curious. Is there a particular sector whether it's non attack biotech anything else or a particular thing that you're very excited to see come to life. That's maybe on the cusp now yeah. I'm really excited about the OCULUS rift and the kind of virtual reality revolution that we're seeing with that you know especially and platforms like kickstarter people can come up with cool ideas. He is and the crowd itself can fund it all of a sudden new possibilities emerge but we've always wanted to inhabit that mind space that virtual space. I mean already when we watch movies are mind is in the film. When we're engaging with the Internet I mean we're interfacing with a space that isn't space is willing Gibson us to say and and I think that with the Oculus we're finally going to be surrounded fully by that virtual space and it's GonNa be good definitely change online dating at the very least but but no I just imagined new modalities of communication that will be very exciting to explore art to probably God absolutely tanking transcendental art therapeutic virtual reality therapy. I think is going to become a big thing to get even a little Kooky. I don't know if you're familiar with maps so the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies is the nonprofit that's trying to use plant based psycho. Psychotropic medicines listens have been used for thousands of years by all kinds of societies and bring them into the psychotherapy realm and so imagine combining oculus rift virtual reality with. I like the way that they're giving. PTSD patients and put them in this like new realm and then it's like better living through chemistry mixed with electronic mediation. I think we could really that's amazing or it could be a kind of almost divine engineering or electronic spiritually so fascinating so so I know you've got a lot going on personally to brain games. which is a huge hit show ya? What else are you personally. What are you working on. What's happening for you so oh yea brain games has been wonderful because it's giving me a wonderful television platform you know. I used to be a current TV for many years but then I had some time where I wasn't and and so it's nice to have that platform. It's one of their most successful series ever. We were nominated for an emmy and it's nice to be involved in something that I think is making neuroscience accessible to mainstream audiences insist and then shots aw is much passion project my philosophical Espresso shots which speak deeply I think to my own existential essential obsessions angst. You know it's a a woody. Allen famously used to say. I don't want to achieve mortality through my work. I want to achieve achieve it. Bhai not dying because he has this whole thing about death in the morbid human can the mobility of the human condition when seen in its naked form and I echo his sentiments but a shots of is sort of the next best thing intil weekend sort of Nano engineer immortality and transcend our human limitations artistic transcendence is all I got and and making those videos allows me temporarily to arrest the passing of time and to be moved moved to the point of tears hopefully and hopefully others and to really not just not just not just arrest time but but it turn allies and immortalize the passing at the moment to take these moments of cognitive ecstasy and take a snapshot of them to parentheses them to hang them on the wall and God. I mean for me. That's just that's just it's the closest thing to stabilising happiness that that can that can be you know my mom used to publish all these poetry books in English and Spanish in Venezuela and I think those poems were that for her and so these videos are that for me. You're absolutely genius. Add it and I cannot wait to see an new incoming up. Do you want to tell everybody about yes. So there's one about nonconformity then I'm very excited about and a lot of the inspiration for shots evolve because these are totally unscripted but the inspiration comes from like falling in love with an idea or quote that is something I wanna say like I want my lips to vibrate with those with those ideas were words become worlds as they say and this one was a nietzsche quote that says and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music which is wonderful Scottsdale. Yes yeah totally and I was like just just that idea. You know about the genius that sometimes gets misjudged you know because we can't see it and we were like. Oh so the dancing oh they're crazy 'cause we can't hear the music and so I just thought it's one of those lines that I just want to say and then from there went on a whole rant about finding purpose and and individuality and the tension between individuality and conformity and I'm very excited about it awesome so jason this was incredible as you know on TV. We always like to help people turn this incredible insight and inspiration the action so we've got a challenge for you guys today and I am so thrilled about this one Jason. It's inspired by a quote that you love us us. This quote is by Albert Camus. It says life should be lived to the point of tears and of course he's speaking to just living by one's passion answering I answering the call living by one truth until until you're moved to tears yes and so so we want to take that we want to take this idea of being moved to tears. I want to know from you. What do you love so much whether it's a painting a piece of Art. It's a member of your family. It's something thing that you're working on. That really moves you to tears. What do you love that much. Tell us all about it in the comments below now as always the best conversations happen after the episode over Marie Forleo Dot Com so go there and leave a comment now. Did you like this video if so subscribe to our channel and of course share this with all all of your friends they will really thank you for it and if you want even more great resources to create a business in life that you love some personal insights for me that I only talk about an email get over to Marie FORLEO DOT COM and sign up for email updates. Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special gift that only you have thank you so much for we're watching and I'll catch you next time on TV. Thank you so much for listening in if you're into it subscribe. 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