Jason Silva and Douglas Rushkoff | Creative Session

Jason Silva and Douglas Rushkoff | Creative Session

[APPLAUSE] JASON SILVA: Fun. So Doug, I want to
ask you a little bit about the themes in “Cyberia.” I’m particularly
fascinated, and I’ve been fascinated with this
term “cyberdelics,” which connects the idea of cybernetic
systems and computers and high technology with
psychedelic substances, expanding your mind. There’s a lot of
people out there that think that the
computer revolution is the literalization of the
psychedelic dream of mind expansion. And that the confluence of the
counterculture and the computer culture in the early
’60s, like, in a sense sparked this world,
where it was like, these computers can
extend our minds. Computers are the new LSD,
and so on and so forth. You know this world very well. Do you want to just riff a
little bit on your thoughts on that? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
Well, I don’t know. For me it was kind of
a surprise, you know. I went to Princeton in the early
’80s when there weren’t many, I don’t know, there weren’t that
many interesting people there, to use the word “interesting.” And there certainly
weren’t many psychedelic, counter culturally,
theater people there. And after I graduated, I
found that the other nine of the other 12 psychedelic
Princeton people had all ended up moving
to California to work in the high-tech industry. And that seemed really weird
to me because when I grew up, people who used computers
were the kids who kind of cut right angles in the
corridors of the high school and stuff. So I wanted to
find out why people who were for the most part
more stoned than I was, the true deadhead people,
would go out there. So I went out and spent
time with these people who were working at
Intel during the day and going home scraping the buds
off peyote cactuses at night. And– JASON SILVA: Wow. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
–trying to figure out why were these people
attracted to it. And then why were these people
the ones being hired to do it. And what I figured
out in the early ’90s was that people who had
hallucinatory experience were really the only
people who weren’t afraid to build these platforms,
to build this reality. These were people who were
accustomed to imagining something that then appeared. JASON SILVA: Right. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Right. So these are people who
then had to go and do, that is their job. JASON SILVA: Right
off the bat, I mean, it makes me think of this idea. You have all these companies
that are talking about creativity and out-of-the-box
and we got to get our employees to think differently. And don’t look at what is
but think of what could be. Steven Johnson and his
book “Where Good Ideas Come From” talks about
the adjacent possible. And he says the adjacent
possible is a shadow future. It’s this thing
that’s not quite there and it hovers over the present. And so how do you
get there, right? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: The
problem here, though, is that deliberate and
disciplined psychedelics users bring back what they’ve
learned back to terra firma. JASON SILVA: Absolutely. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: And implement
it in real life in a real way. And there’s a kind of an
implicit morality in that. And the kinds of people who
were doing computers then were the kinds of
people who shared a kind of a common
sense of values about people and weirdness and
paradox and the arts and all that. And when I look
at the people who are programming
our reality today, I see kids graduating
from Stanford, going to work for Goldman
Sachs to build algorithms that work on the stock market
to outsmart human traders. So I don’t feel that that value
system’s implicit anymore, that the adjacent possible is
no longer necessarily connected to the real, but is an
alternative reality. Let’s build this platform. And it harkens back
to stuff McLuhan was talking about back
in his dissertation when he wrote about the trivium. That there were these
kind of two sects sort of throughout history. The grammarians who were very
concerned with sort of what is. And the dialecticians,
the constructivists, who were sort of out
there on, what can we do? What can we construct? What else can we– The constructivists,
it was very consonant with industrialization and
the Renaissance and progress and where are we going
to go, where are we going to take this thing? But you know, that eyes
on the prize mentality is kind of an abstraction when
it’s not counterbalanced by– JASON SILVA: Being present? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
Being present, right. Being [? by the ?] real. JASON SILVA: Yeah, and
I understand everything you’re referring to here. And so it almost sounds
like what you’re saying is that dream that
existed, maybe, when you wrote “Cyberia.” Or the ideas that
John Markoff explores. And what the Dormouse says
when he says that this 1960s moment, this counterculture,
these computers, this dream that was
conceived and potentially to be literalized now. You’re saying that the value
system that exists today is not the same. So instead of people creating
an app to transform the world, they want to create
some little app that they can, like,
put on the stock market and sell for $1 million. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: It became
more the quest, well, yeah. Or even in the best
case, it’s the quest to make a second life, a second
life rather than this life, where we are alive. And we talk a lot
about the singularity. I get where the
singularity to me seems to be kind of
a self-loathing, kind of antihuman, zombie
apocalypse fantasy. You know, where
the story they tell is that the history of evolution
is information itself striving towards greater
states of complexity. Human beings are really
good, and culture is really good for doing that
for the last 3,000 years. But now computers are
even better at doing that. So people are only going
to be necessary insofar as we can help
computers manifest the next stage of evolution. And to argue, as I do, that
no humans matter is hubris. Who says humans matter? And I say humans matter
because I’m on team human. JASON SILVA: Well,
it’s interesting when Kurzweil talks
about the singularity, and he addresses
the criticism where people say, oh,
the AIs are going to take over and displace us. He says you keep talking
about the AI as if it’s them, but that’s really
going to be us. I mean, he echoes
some of the ideas of David Chalmers
and Andy Clark, who says we need to get
over our skin bag bias. And that these technologies,
if you zoom out and you look at it
from the outside, these technologies are
actually a part of us. They are our second skin. Just like the
spider’s web is a part of the spider, our
smartphones, our technology, our computers are like
a scaffolding of mind. I mean, when you look at
the Mars Rover on Mars, that’s the human mind
is crawling Mars. The Hubble Space Telescope
gives us, allows us to mainline the whole of time
through our optic nerve. So I don’t think that
we’re being replaced as far as being augmented. But this is my interpretation,
Oh, yeah, it depends. If you’re part of
the camp that wants to upload human consciousness to
a silicon chip and watch it go, then you’ve got no problem
with skin bag bias, I’ll tell you that much. But I think there’s
a danger there that the problem
with constructivism, while it’s great
to plan, is it’s very hard to remember that
we have to keep testing it against reality. What might be has to continually
be tested against what is. It goes all the way back to the
invention of the first meeting, the invention of text. Once we could write things
down, once we could write things down, we got time travel. We could write about what
happened in the past. We got history. And we got the future. So then we got the messianism
and Moshiach and all that. And Moshiach and the future
and where we’re going and tikkun olam. That’s all beautiful as long
as it’s constantly tested against what’s happening. JASON SILVA: Well, don’t you
think that language allowed us to dream? Because by conceiving of
what might be is sort of– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: It did. JASON SILVA: –the catalyst
for human imagination. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: And progress. JASON SILVA: To
imagine what could be. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: And
industralization and all that. JASON SILVA: To yearn,
to dream, to sort of take the protoplasmic
yearning of biology and articulate it
into this beautiful– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: It did. And dreaming is
beautiful as long as, just like with the
psychedelic trip, as long as that dream is then
integrated back into reality rather than engineered as a
way to get out of reality. JASON SILVA: Well,
OK, definitely. And one of the
things you talk about is the comparison between
this digital future and bringing it back to the
human spectrum of experience. So I’m really interested
in experience design. And I’m interested in
technologically mediating experience, right? So this is something
I’m obsessed with just because for my own interest
in, like, being blissed out. When I watch movies, when I
listen to beautiful music, when I experience
aesthetic arrest. These are all
technologies, right? Cinema, truth, 24
times per second. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
Since the beginning. Since the cave paintings. And all we’ve been experimenting
with from the beginning is kind of challenging
our proprioception, challenging, where does my body
end and the rest of reality begin? I mean, the museums. If you look at the history
of museums, you see dioramas. What were they? Whoa. And then holograms, whoa! Then virtual reality, whoa! JASON SILVA: Faulkner
says, a writer wants to fit the
world into a sentence. A filmmaker wants to fit
the world into that film. You know, when you
go to a museum, you want to fit history
into an experience that fits into your now. It’s almost like
you want to process the world into this moment. See the world in a grain of
sand and then a wild flower. So Diana Slattery has that
amazing article about, she talks about the
term “the trope high.” And she says, whether
it’s drug-induced highs or technological highs, high
resolution, high fidelity, our desire to just chase these
blissful mind-body states that seem to be integral to
the human condition. And us using our tools and
folding those tools back into the self to essentially
hack perception, hack experience, hack consciousness. I mean, don’t you think that’s
an amazing opportunity for us to play? Does that excite you? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: It’s an
amazing opportunity for us to play, for sure. And although I’ve seen
many acid casualties along the way of the
people that chased just a few too many highs, I’d
hate for our civilization to become an acid casualty. But the other problem
for me is, who’s building these technologies? Who are we in concert with? When I say, OK, so Google’s
building these technologies. And yeah, they’re
also building robots that really are good at chasing
and shooting down people. And while they’re donating it
to the World Wildlife Federation to chase poachers, who we
all know are really bad, so that’s a very
socially acceptable way to build robot drones
that chase down people. And we know Google
will do no evil, so we don’t have to
worry about that. And the government
will never get a hold. While we’re chasing
our highs, we are supporting the creation
of a technological structure that we’re not
really in charge of. JASON SILVA: So
does that scare you? I mean, do you anticipate, like,
some totalitarian information state where we’re not free? Or McKenna talking about us
each moving into universes of our own construction,
where Big Data is used to create engineered
serendipities where everything
that’s always around is custom for us and our tastes. And the smart
systems that start. We dovetail our
minds to our tools, but when the tools
start dovetailing back, the distinction
between self and world is going to become
really flimsy. Because everything is
going to have mind in it. Everything is going
to have my mind in it. Because everything
is going to be responding to my tastes and
my desires and my needs. I mean, I imagine a
sort of playground, a kind of wake-walking lucid
dream mediated by technology. Kind of like the end
of “Vanilla Sky,” when he’s in that lucid dream. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Could be. JASON SILVA: That’s
what I fantasize about. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: It could be. It could be. But for me, the
best part of a trip is always waking
up in the morning. I mean, coming down
is the good part. It should be, anyway. Coming down is the part
where you’re, like, OK. JASON SILVA: What
have I learned? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Now what? Yeah. What did I learn and how do I
apply this and what is this? And then you go out in the
woods and you [SNIFFING] smell reality again
from that new place. And you realize, oh,
my god, I’ve only tip. I’m only 1% of what I could be. And I think we’ve
both shared that. We’re only 1% of
what we could be. The question is, where
is that other 99%? Is that other 99% by
building these technologies that can then do this stuff? Or are we leaving
that 99% behind and building technologies
that can house the 1% that we already know about? JASON SILVA: You
just said something that really got me excited. You talked about what
happens after the trip. This idea that ego death results
in a kind of reset of the self. And you go and smell the
roses and smell reality. And you’ve been
changed in some way. You’ve been conditioned
by the experience. And you want to go out
and be a better person. And you want to exercise new
possibilities and so on and so forth. So I want to ask you– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: And the very
best thing about psychedelics is you come back and
you see the structures that you’ve been
accepting at face value, as given circumstances
of your reality, and you see them as
social constructions of people who may or may
not have had our best interests at heart. So when our very
best digital people are, say, building
Twitter and disrupting this industry or that. But then what do they do? They go to daddy at
Goldman Sachs and do an IPO and reify the worst
shit of our society. They basically turn it into
another prop for Wall Street. The opportunity of
moving into a digital age is not to build upon the
mistakes of the Industrial Age, but to challenge
the Industrial Age and retrieve all of the
values that got repressed the last time. That’s McKenna’s
archaic revival. That’s McLuhan’s
retrieval of values. So what I saw on my
technological trip, when I saw it was, oh, my gosh. You mean we can transact
in a peer-to-peer fashion without corporations. Oh, we can invent
local currencies. And we can use our iPhones
to do authentication. We can look back at
reality again rather than just build on the
artificial structures that we’ve had before. And my concern is, when we
just go headlong for the high, there’s a ton of
powers that be that are more than happy to get you– JASON SILVA: To
serve you that high. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah,
to get you and me high as long as they get the Big
Data that they need in order to predict or influence
our upcoming behaviors. JASON SILVA: So its
revolution or hedonism. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah. JASON SILVA: It’s
interesting though, but sometimes I feel like,
OK, so when I watch a movie, I’m a consumer who is paying
money, feeding an existing system, a business that
is a thriving business, a corporate business that
is, those that criticize film say that it’s like a soma
that’s keeping us all placid and mindlessly entertained. But when I see a
movie that I love, I don’t necessarily want
to have a revolution against that system. I actually enjoy the film,
and I’m glad I live in a world where these expert
filmmakers can amass these resources to make these
amazing cultural technologies for me to experience. But I don’t know if
that just makes me– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: But
we still have those. And they’re still great movies. Go to a Chris Nolan movie, and
it’ll blow your little mind. I mean, that’s a good
thing, not a bad thing. JASON SILVA: Yeah, but I
guess what I’m saying is– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: It’s
when we’re not conscious. So then it’s like, OK, now I
can make my own movies, right? And you’re one of
the lucky ones. You can buy a Sony camera
and buy an Apple computer and buy some Time Warner
Road Runner uplink speed. And you can now, instead
of paying to watch a movie, you can pay to make a movie. And upload it to YouTube,
where Google will own it. And if you’re one
out of 3 million, you can be one of the few that
becomes luckily you or me. JASON SILVA: Well, Google will
own it, et cetera, et cetera. But the point is, technology has
lowered the barriers of entry. There’s been a
flooding of new talent. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: There has
been a flooding of new talent. But the number of people
that have actually made it in the DIY system, if you
look at music or filmmaking, is less than made it
in the old system. The disparity between
the stars of music. JASON SILVA: And why
do you think that is? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Why? Because I think it’s actually
because they’re not really selling the music. Because what we’re
really selling in this system are networks. And I was just talking to Oliver
Luckett, who runs theAudience, whom you know. It’s a social media agency
for rock stars and pop stars. And what they realized is, if
you’re going to be a pop star, you’re not going to make
money selling your records. What you can make money doing is
selling your Twitter followers, is selling your Facebook likes. So what they do is
help you amass– JASON SILVA: It’s a currency
of attention, right? Attention’s the new
limited resource. There’s an infinite amount
of signals competing for our attention. We’re all suffering
from bandwidth anxiety. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Right. You could take
Adderall for that. JASON SILVA: But those
with the loudest microphone or amplifier in the
age of information, that’s where the
wealth is, right? You can control attention,
you can control the world. It’s interesting
because in the book “The Mating Mind,” the
guy talks about how the human capacity for
creativity, you know, language, art, poetry, is
really just the human version of the peacock feather. And that we went from trading
in genes to trading in memes. So today, evolutionary
success is really those that are controlling
the Twitter followers. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Right. I mean, and people
like me were the ones– JASON SILVA: They’re mating
their memes the widest and farthest. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Honestly. And it was little
schlemiels like me who liked the trading
with memes thing better than the trading
with genes thing. That’s why I couldn’t
live in Los Angeles. I had to come to
New York where I can get currency with the things
I say rather than my flesh. JASON SILVA: Rather
than your six pack. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah. And you got both. [LAUGHTER] JASON SILVA: So
I want to go back to what you were saying before
about resetting the self, coming down from the trip,
whatever that trip was, technologically mediated
or drug mediated. And the therapeutic aspects
of these experiences. Because one of the
things that I’ve been obsessing with lately,
and I’ve done videos about it, is the subject of awe. And I tell people
that awe is, to me, it’s a sort of an antidote
to existential despair. You know that I’m really
into Ernest Becker. He says the human condition
is defined by the fact that we know that we
are mortal beings. So we lose sleep over the fact
that one day in the future we’re going to die. And that imbues the
human experience with a kind of absurdity, right? We are simultaneously
gods and worms. We can ponder the infinite,
yet we watch those that we love get old, ourselves
get old, and eventually die. And so I find that whether
it’s psychedelic therapy or whatever, inspiration,
awe, aesthetic arrest are the antidotes
to that experience. So ego death, being
blissed out arrests time, temporarily pushes aside
thoughts of impending doom, takes us off that people
mover that’s carrying everyone else towards death. And then there was a study
that came out of Stanford where they basically exposed
people to experiences of awe, which they defined
as experiences of such perceptual
expansion that people had to upgrade their
mental schemata to accommodate the experience. And what they found
is that people who have regular
incidences of awe are left with increased
altruism, increased well-being, increased feelings of
compassion towards other people, et cetera, et cetera. Like there’s all these takeaways
after blowing your own mind. The therapeutic aspect. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: There are. And awe was
systematically extracted from the human experience
over the last 600 years. Because people in awe, people
who have awe experiences, are dangerous. We’re unpredictable. JASON SILVA: They
get hit by a car because they can’t
cross the street. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Which is why
we have psychedelic medicine. But psychedelic drugs,
they’re still drugs. They’re for people who are sick. They’re for a society
that’s lost the ability to encounter awe. And they reacquaint
us with awe, not so that we have to do it
again and again and again. As Alan Watts said, once you get
the message, hang up the phone. But rather to be able
to experience awe, as I am right now
just sitting with you, or looking at my
daughter, or having sex, or looking at a sunset. It’s like awe, awe, awe. The awe is everywhere. Do I need that medicine? Now the technology is also
good because you can’t get everybody high on acid. We found that in the ’60s. People are afraid. But the computer, great. All right, so let’s give
people some awe experiences. Great. Not so that they can then
travel into the computer into the land of awe. But so that now
that they recognize awe, or a simulation
of awe in this case, they can come back to the real
world and go, oh, my gosh. JASON SILVA: But it’s true. But the existentialist
philosophers were always saying it. I mean, Camus used
to say, life should be lived to the point of tears. I mean, you read
the romantic poets. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Life should
be lived to the point of tears. We should go to a movie
to experience a simulation of someone else’s life. You can go into virtual– JASON SILVA: Because we can’t
have it in our own lives. Perhaps that is a tragedy. But you know what
the problem is– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: We can
have it in our own lives. It’s a thing. It’s here. It’s available. We don’t need to pay
Google for the awe. This is a way for white,
Western, patriarchal– JASON SILVA: I still want
to have my iTunes playlist with the custom
music that I picked to be playing conditioning
my real experience. So I still want to
use the technology. I still want to
borrow from the– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: But also
there’s a reality out there you can listen to, too. JASON SILVA: Like just
the trees rustling? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah. [LAUGHTER] The trees rustling. I mean, gosh, my
favorite thing when I lived in the West Village,
back when that was affordable, was there was a
public school there. And I would stand at the chain
link fence when they had recess and listen in perfect stereo
to all the kids playing in this thing. And that was awe. But it was awe. It was right there. JASON SILVA: I’ve
always envied people that just are naturally in awe. My mother’s one of those people. She’s just one of those people
who says everything moves her. She finds beauty
almost in everything. And then some of us that have to
find ways to mediate and induce an occasion that experience. So it’s just something
I’m really interested in. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Now
your stuff, your videos are medicine in that sense. Because people are, you’re
at work, you’re doing this, you hear about your stocks,
and does it go up or down, and private school, my kid. And now I can watch
a three-minute video and go whoa, fuck! [LAUGHTER] And that’s the point, right? That’s the point. JASON SILVA: Well,
I mean, the 100%. The videos, I try to
explain to people. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Brain games. I mean, what do you do? You’re teaching people
to play with their brain. Play with your brain,
it’s here for that. JASON SILVA: Yeah,
it’s interesting. Because the reason I
did those videos was, thank you for using
the term medicine because I did them
as self-medication. It was like if I was in any kind
of stupor, if I was afflicted by the banality of the every
day, the been theres and done thats of the adult mind,
as Michael Pollan writes, I needed to be reset. And not every month
does Christopher Nolan release a film. So you’ve got to wait for them. So when there’s
nothing I can purchase to give me that
experience, I want to go and make that experience. And finally I have
the tools, right? And so I have limited resources. And perhaps kind of
a limited attention span, and kind of impatience and
a desire to just make it now. So rather than spending six
months doing a feature doc, I was like, I want to make
these three-minute videos. Because I want to take
a three-minute hit. Like a hit of DMT. It’s just like a three minute. But I want it to have all the
energy of the most amazing movie trailer you’ve ever seen. And all the ideas
packed in there densely. And I want it to be
like an inception. You watch it, and then
it goes and percolates, and it stays with you,
and this and that. Yeah, I mean, for me
it’s been medicine. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
No, and it’s cool. The trick, though, is to help
people understand that you’re not necessarily
describing reality, but you’re giving metaphorical
ways of understanding reality. So the mind is like a processor. You know, we are like computers. We are uploading stuff. Memes are like genes. And we are infecting
one another with ideas. JASON SILVA: I love
those metaphors. They help me understand
the world a lot more. It makes everything make sense. That’s the thing about
those kinds of metaphors. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: No, it does. They’re just prone. In our society
those metaphors are prone to the sort
of Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson abstracted
understanding of reality as this kind of participatory
mediated spectacle. JASON SILVA: I love that term. OK, so let’s talk about
cultural operating systems and the consensus trance. You were talking
about that before, that when people have these
psychedelic experiences, they come out of
it and they realize that these social,
rigid frameworks that seemed so solid and
so real are much more fluid than we think they are. They’ve been created
by other people. What do you think– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
It’s the same thing that happens when you watch a
Shakespeare play, or a Brecht play, or have good sex, or go
to a good religious ritual, too. JASON SILVA: So
what do you think, how can we upgrade our
social operating systems? Do you ever speculate of
what a better society? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah, I
mean for me, it’s funny. JASON SILVA: Do we
all run around naked? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: For
me, the digital thing is so key because we have
migrated from an industrial age society to a digital one. But for me, the
digital is the opposite of the kind of global,
Google, meta network thing. For me, digital was
always the digits. It was about return. These are the digits. That’s what digital means. A return to the fingers. Not to individuality as
individual consumers, but to local means
of production. And for me, though, the whole
local thing, the Etsy thing, the retrieval of
medieval values, and Burning Man, and Occupy
are all about the same thing. I mean, I love Occupy,
not in the terms of the political occupation but
the idea of occupying reality. Let’s Occupy. JASON SILVA: Own this space. Be here now. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
Digital does that, because I was a kid who went
from the television mass media experience to the digital
experience, which was so peer-to-peer and connected. JASON SILVA: It’s
interesting to hear you talk about occupy this, be here now. I haven’t been to Burning
Man, I’m embarrassed to say. But I need to make
it over there. I read Eric Davis’s
essay on Burning Man. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: And
you’ve been there. JASON SILVA: Oh, my god. But one of the things– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: And
now it’s not Burning Man, it’s not Burning Man
anymore than the internet’s the internet. I mean, Burning Man
is where, you know, if you’re a young Google
executive, you go and prove you’re cool by
living in a trailer. JASON SILVA: But the people
that have transcendent experiences there,
to me it seems like the place creates this
kind of radical novelty that by virtue of
just being bombarded by the juxtaposition
of so much originality, it’s so different than
what you see every day. You don’t have mental references
for what you’re seeing, so it induces that wonder,
that imagination explosion. And what that does is
it’s like a drug, right? Serves the purpose of
transforming your perception of the present moment
and the passing of time, the unfolding of time, and
just experience changes. Subjectivity is transformed
That’s interesting because the hacking of
subjectivity is like– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah. But to the purpose of then being
able to recognize and foster the things that you
see in real life. I was at a tree-trimming party
with a pinata the other day. And the pinata fell,
and all the boys are shoving and
kicking and trying and everybody gets their
candy and their little toys and all that. And we’re all like, oh, my god. This is all so– And then 10 minutes
later, nobody’s looking because then
the kids are off. I see, like, five
girls in a circle, and my daughter’s one of them. These are eight-year-old
girls in a circle. And they’re trading
candy with each other. And it’s this very
sophisticated sort of modalities of what
different things are worth. There’s a piece of plastic, it’s
like a toy, and that’s worth– And so immediately
a peer-to-peer bazaar in the medieval sense. A bazaar assembled. It was social, it
was commercial. And I was, like, it happens. It does happen. That was Burning Man. It happened there
without the drugs and without the computers. JASON SILVA: Right, right. So OK, I want to ask
you about creativity. Just like big word. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I should
ask you as the creative one. JASON SILVA: Well, we’re
both creative guys. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
I’m the author. JASON SILVA: How do
you just randomly just define creativity? Moments of aha. What happens when
human beings step out of their usual
mental frameworks? What happens? What happens in the
brain, what results? How do you define creativity? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
For me, creativity is, almost a fun way to
describe what creativity is, and no one has a great
definition for it, especially in a market society. But creativity is when humans
do what only humans can do. Creativity is the
expression of the paradox, you know, the ambiguity, the
queerness, the weirdness. It’s these unique,
novel possibilities. JASON SILVA: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting
because I’ve been thinking a lot
about what you just said, that ambiguity
and this and that. The word “liminality” has
to do with the in-between. So I’ve become really
interested in these immersive, site-specific interactive
theater experiences. I was talking to you about
“Punchdrunk,” “Sleep No More.” There’s another one in Brooklyn
called “Then She Fell,” which is a reference to Alice
tumbling down the rabbit hole. And in these theater
experiences they create this space where you
can pretty much go anywhere you want. And it’s this nonlinear,
interactive experience of the narrative. So you don’t
experience it in order, and you kind of are connecting
the dots as you experience it. And figuring out
what’s going on is kind of the purpose of
what you’re supposed to do. But I describe the
experience as being inside of someone else’s dream. And so it is this liminal space
between dreams and reality, kind of like when you’re
watching a movie, kind of like when you’re
watching a piece of theater. Time, space, they
kind of collapse. You can criss-cross and
cross-cut to anywhere, experiencing anything,
and you believe it. So that’s the landscape
of mind and the landscape of imagination. Do you think we’ll ever be
able to create virtual reality technologies that allow us to
essentially live in that space all the time? To live in landscapes of mind? To just completely leave
behind the sort of gravity of the body and its
rigid, have to feed it, have to go to
sleep at this time? Just live in this
wonderland all the time? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: My sense
is if we do it, it will be, that the price will be we
leave behind a few billion of our fellows to be in
nonmediated, wonderful, virtual things. I mean, it’s the great way
to get the city on the cloud, so we can all be
in virtual reality as long as we have little
brown people in subcontinents feeding the coal into the
whatever, into the processors. JASON SILVA: That’s assuming we
wouldn’t have, like, nanotech or solar technologies
that could make this perfectly sustainable. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah, it is. It is. Because I don’t think that
we would have the drive to inhabit an alternative
reality unless there was something we were
trying to get away from. Be it some Philip K. Dick in
apocalyptic, dry desert future. It’s like, oh, shit, I’m
going into Second Life. See you later, honey. JASON SILVA: So you always
think that the appeal is that this is bad and
that is good, rather than this is pretty good. Humanity’s come to
this certain point. But now there’s
this mental universe we can go to that’s
infinite and boundless. That was the dream
of cyberspace. There were corridors
of the mind. William Gibson. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I think the
better the virtual realities we build, the
better I would think people will get
at distinguishing between the virtual
and the real. JASON SILVA: Kevin
Kelly says real is going to be a really
relative term in the future. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
Yeah, but Kevin Kelly is a person who as a
certain kind of Christian imagines the end of the world. I mean, there are
people that are still stuck in what I
would consider to be a Renaissance-era linear arc
of sort of beginnings, middles, and ends. They’re not playing
the infinite game where the object of the game
is to keep the game going. They’re still playing
a Renaissance-era game, where the object of the
game is to win the game. They’re stuck in the
culture of the book. And I write books. I love them. But books are about
beginnings, middles, and ends. Whereas games, video games, are
about keeping the game going. JASON SILVA: When are
you going to write a book that never ends? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Can’t. Can’t do it. Luckily. But no, I mean, it’s– JASON SILVA: When
Kevin Kelly talks about the technium, when
he describes technology as the seventh kingdom of life. And he says that
it’s a living thing subject to evolutionary forces,
that has wants and needs. Do you think that
this is just crap? Or do you think that there’s
a truth to what he’s saying? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I think
it is like a living thing. I think it’s
algorithmic in nature. It’s a program. And while people are very
algorithmic at times. JASON SILVA: Is
biology a program, too? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
It’s like a program. And there’s many things that
are programmatic about it. But the more you hone
in on that program, it squirts away from you like a
tomato seed under your finger. And you realize, oh,
it’s not the DNA, it’s the proteins
around the DNA. Well, of course. Well, now we know. Oh, it’s the proteins. Oh, it’s not the proteins. It’s like something else. JASON SILVA: Well, a lot of
complexity for sure, yes. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: It’s not
just complexity, though. It’s not. I’m not, in the end,
I’m not a materialist. I think that there’s something
going on here that we don’t yet know about. I guess it’s Kantian or
something, that we barely even perceive reality, much
less are we able– We can’t even recreate a simulation
of what we perceive, much less the 99.9% of reality
that we don’t perceive. JASON SILVA: So are you
talking about the limitations in understanding our
own consciousness, not to mention our limitations
in creating instruments to perceive the world? Because we can’t
see the very small, but we create a microscope. We can’t see the very large,
but we create a telescope. We can peer into the, like,
the universe pretty vividly. You’re saying what? You’re saying– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: These
guys buy a model vague, buy a model of reality,
and it may be true where there was this
matter, there was a boom, and then all these things
banged into each other. And they got more complex. And they got so complex
and eventually there was emerging
consciousness from it. That there was the Big Bang,
and then there was time. Well, what if they’re wrong? Because they still
don’t think that at all. JASON SILVA: So
you think there’s a more satisfying answer? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: What if
consciousness preceded the Big Bang? What of consciousness
was a prerequisite for the Big Bang rather than
the result of the Big Bang? Then if it was, then,
well, wait a minute, now what are we playing with? So if we don’t understand the
sort of very basic building blocks of reality, I’m
concerned about ditching reality for another one. I love Playland, I love
Disneyland, I love movies, I love all these things. But I would never
mistake them for reality. Disneyland is a great idea. I mean, a world where the
trains worked on time, I feel like Disneyland
is what would have happened if the Nazis
had won and weren’t evil. [LAUGHTER] JASON SILVA: Oh, god. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
And that’s fine. That’s fine. But it’s not the world. JASON SILVA: But let
me ask you something. You talked about how,
OK, you like movies, you like video games,
but they’re not reality. One of the interesting ideas in
Chris Nolan’s film “Inception” is this notion that the dream
is real when you’re in it. So if the simulation,
if the representation, can become immersive enough,
can you ever essentially trick, hack, or convince
your brain to forget to remember that it’s subjecting
itself to a simulation? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yes. Absolutely. JASON SILVA: For
example, when I went to see “Gravity” on IMAX
in 3D, which I thought was a technical achievement film
I’d never seen before in terms of the places where
the camera could go, it just didn’t make sense. You couldn’t place it. And it was so immersive that
during certain sequences, my body would jolt with
the movements on screen as if it was happening to me. It was going primordial,
deeper than my ability to remember this is a movie. And I think that
eventually, more and more of our simulated experiences
are going to be like that. So it won’t matter
if they’re not real. When they’re done, because
when you’re in them, they will become real. The dream will be real
while you’re in it. What do you think of that? [LAUGHTER] It’s a cool idea, right? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah. JASON SILVA: I’m just trying
to convince you to like this. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I like it. I just don’t like it
more than what I got. I like it, sure, it’s
great, it’s great, cool, go for it, wonderful. But if we are going to build
these things, let’s go back and say, OK, what’s the
purpose of these things? The purpose could be just
because I want to get high. Just like the kid taking
acid in the AC/DC parking lot instead of in the dorm room,
trying to figure out the world. So you’re going to do it, and
you’re just going to get high. JASON SILVA: The
purpose is catharsis. Well, we would talk about
psychedelic therapies. But it feels like
human beings, we need to have regular
experiences that are cathartic. These ego death,
rebirth simulations. I was talking about Alan
Harrington, who wrote the book “The Immortalists.” That even our lovers,
even when we’re in love, our lovers act as stand-ins
for various dream figures in a stage-managed resurrection. Where the pilgrim without
faith can die and live again. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: So why
not just do it in a dream? JASON SILVA: We need
these archetype spaces, these landscapes of mind,
where we sort shit out. Like that’s the world, the world
of the self, the world inside. And that’s what these
movies connect to, I think. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: They do. They do, and that’s fine. It’s just the world of
the self can be ultimately a lonely place. It’s not a social place. Work on yourself. Sure, you know. And this is New York. Everyone goes to therapy for 45
minutes once a week or twice. I mean, they all know what
that inner work is about and why it’s great. But the reason we do inner work
is that we go out of the office and then engage
with people and deal with the real problems
of distributing the surplus of stuff that
we have in America somehow to all the people that need
it, instead of burning food every week and ripping
down houses in California because the prices
aren’t high enough. It’s like the practical
concerns are so real. JASON SILVA: I completely
agree with you. But the practical concerns are
also, they are being addressed. I mean, there was an article
in “The New York Times” recently that said that the
lowest level of poverty, the most extreme
form of poverty, has almost been eliminated
across the world. You have Steven Pinker,
who wrote “The Better Angels of Our Nature”
and his TED talk, “The Myth of
Violence,” that says that, contrary to what
you see on the news, the chances of a man dying
at the hands of another man are the lowest than they’ve
ever been in history. I mean, there’s all
these indicators that things are getting better. But the media feeds
us doom and gloom. So I mean, obviously, everything
you’re saying is true. But it’s not like there’s not
an active effort right now at addressing the fundamental
challenges of humanity. Do you have optimism
at all in that space? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Oh,
I got lots of optimism. I just want to
make sure we don’t use these medicines the
same way that, say, America uses Prozac, which is a way– JASON SILVA: Fair enough. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: –to– JASON SILVA: To numb. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: –to
numb, yeah, exactly. To help us cope
with reality as it is rather than engage reality
to make it less painful. JASON SILVA: And on
that note, I think it’s time for our
Q&A. It’s about 9:00. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: And
don’t assume that this is like pro-anti here. We’re both pro and
anti and all that. It’s sort of the rules
of brain jazz, in a way. You kind of stake out positions. On another night, under
different medications, we could as easily be
taking opposite stands. It’s just sort of
where I’m at right now. Really it all for me, it’s
my disappointment in Bitcoin. JASON SILVA: I read an
article about that today. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: It really is. I’m disappointed. We have the opportunity to
invent entirely new currencies rather than just
remake an investor’s speculative central currency
in a digital format. It’s, like, so stupid. INTERVIEWER 1: Mic check. Hi. You guys talked at
different points throughout the brain jam
about these value shifts. I think you talked about
how in the Industrial Age, we got stripped of some
pre-existing values, and we got some new ones. And I’ve heard other people
refer to the digital age as also a knowledge age. Some of the values are
already kind of like embedded in what you’re saying. So like the
peer-to-peer network. That’s obviously kind of
like a value that rises up, post-Industrial Age,
whatever we’re in now. Looking into, like,
let’s say 2050, where you do have this kind
of radical transformation, radical kind of integration
of organic matter and artificial solar
technology, all this stuff just like it’s at
a mature stage. I wouldn’t say it’s
stabilized, but it’s definitely like at a mature stage. What are the values
that humanity will hold and prioritize in the future? JASON SILVA: Who knows? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
You’re going to be here. I mean, I think
right now that’s part of why this moment’s
so interesting is it’s up for grabs. You know? Right now we are
choosing whether we’re going to reify the values
of the Industrial Age, which are efficiency over time,
extracting value out of people and resources, and all that. In order to push
through somehow, do the Industrial
Age on steroids. Or are we going to
use this opportunity to do some cultural resetting
and retrieve the values that were repressed the
last time out, which is when the Renaissance happened? When the Renaissance
happened, we got the invention of the
individual, and centralization, and perspective. We got a whole lot of values. And other ones were
oppressed, like women, women, and peer-to-peer,
local, the bazaar, all those kinds of things. I would love to say
in 2050 we end up in a reality where
80%, 85% of our needs are met locally through
peer-to-peer networks of people we’re engaged with in
the places that we live. And 10% or 15% of
our weird, cool stuff comes from big international
high-tech companies that make us phones that have
very big supply chains, that will move into either
some kind of a world with and many cottage industries
that are all networked and it would be
vastly more efficient. Or if the Big Data
people have their way, we’ll end up entirely
more predictable than we’ve been before. And we’ll be easily
influenced to just purchase whatever the next thing is. JASON SILVA: There
was a recent article that said that physicists
discovered basically a law of physics that can
predict the growth of cities. So even the behavior
of human beings and the unpredictable
changes that happen, that it can all be
described by an equation. That cities are like
organisms and they have all these metabolic rights. So who knows? Maybe what Big Data
is going to reveal is something that it
scares us to admit, which is that we’re not
really these free, autonomous, creative beings. Even though it feels
that way subjectively. But at a macro scale and
looking at all the data points, that we’re just
algorithmic cascades after all. And we have to maybe
live with that duality. Like sure, the Big
Data AIs can predict everything we’re going to want. But it doesn’t feel
that way to me. For us it’ll feel like
we live in this carnival land of novelty, where
everything is interesting and everything is awesome. And people in the
imagination business in 2050 have storytelling
technologies that are dazzling in their
capacity to wow us. And the movies like “Gravity” in
2050 will be that much cooler. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: And the
materialists, you know, dismiss this sensibility. They call it essentialism. Oh, it’s essentialism. You’re a sophist. You know, it’s some
weird, romantic, melancholy for this idea
that human beings are weird and that your perception matters
so that you have free will. This illusion is
good enough for me. I’m going to work with it. I’m going to act
as if, I’m going to behave as if this is real. And as if they are the ones
who haven’t figured things out. And at the very
least, there’s to be a balance between
materialism and whatever we want to call this. Spirituality, for
lack of a better word. Rather than having
to fall all the way into one camp or another. And throughout history they’ve
generally moved hand in hand. And it was really only
after the invention of sort of rational science
and that this stuff that we’re talking about got pooh-poohed as
being some kind of whoo, weird, womanly Fritjof Capra,
Wu Li Master nonsense. Where I think it’s real. It’s as real as your
perception of reality. And your perception of reality
is more, I would argue. All we really have to go
on more than the metaphors we have to describe it. INTERVIEWER 2: Thank you. Hey, guys. JASON SILVA: Hey. INTERVIEWER 2: Quick question. JASON SILVA: Where are you? INTERVIEWER 2: Here. So do you think drugs and
psychedelics are still going to be around in
the age of singularity or 50 or 100 years from now? Like, how are people
going to get high? Is it going to be in the form
of a hack or computer code, or how are they going to open
up those doors of perception? JASON SILVA: Well,
this is the thing. Even the way that people
describe drugs, in most cases, is not as interesting
to me as some people. I don’t know if you
talked about this. But this guy, Rich Doyle,
whom I really enjoy as well. He says that drugs are actually
information technologies. And the philosopher Eliade calls
them technologies of ecstasy. And he talks about
humanity’s cognitive toolkit as essentially stuff
that we found in nature, but we’ve been using it as
part of our mental toolkit for tens of thousands of years. So I imagine we’re going to have
a new generation of smart drugs because, just because
it’s chemistry doesn’t mean it’s not technology. These are still
going to be tools that we use to play with
the essence of self. And I think that the
best is yet to come. People read a book
like “Brave New World” and they’re like, oh, the soma. I don’t know. I mean, there’s a guy
called David Pearce. He wrote “The Hedonistic
Imperative” on the internet. It’s a wonderful treatise about
how we’re going to use nanotech and biotech to create dazzling
new spectrums of subjectivity, like realms of mind
that are unfathomable. As unfathomable to us as
the nuances of Shakespeare are to a great ape. And so it’s useless to
even speculate, in a way. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah. And if we get really,
really good at fine tuning our shamanic alchemy, and we
can play the brain exactly as we want it, you know, cool. But there’s something that the
mushrooms tell you that that synthetic perfectly
modulated chemical won’t. The mushrooms are
going to tell you some stuff you may not
want to really hear when you’re high, like you’re
fucking up the planet here. Hey, you’re cheating on
your girlfriend there. Why haven’t you talked to
me in the last three years? I have something to
tell– I mean, it’s like– JASON SILVA: It’s not
a guilt-free high. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: It’s
not, it’s not guilt. I mean it’s not, it has, the
plants, the sacred plants, have agendas. We are in relationship
with ayahuasca, we’re in relationship
with the Torah. And the ones that we make
we’re not in relationship with. Then we’re just going. So again, I think it’s
a bit about balance. Rupert Sheldrake
talked about there’s a morphic genetic field
of our whole species’ memory with the plant. Maybe, but I think
it’s the plant. I think it is the
plants that we’ve been in relationship with
for however many millennia. Understand, and they can
help balance us in ways that we might not choose
to balance ourselves if we moved exclusively toward
designer chemicals and designer states of consciousness. INTERVIEWER 3: Hey, guys. I just want to say thank you
for just blowing our mind, and that was way too fast. But bear with me while
I work this question. So first and
foremost, in a society where the only socially
condition and accepted plane of consciousness is kind
of that producer/consumer plane of consciousness, where
the only way that we can afford ourselves the opportunity
to explore the world of art and spirit is exactly to do
so, is to afford to do that. And create a company
where maybe we can unfurl through our
creative mind in that company. But of course, a
company or a business is there to create financial
security, to create money. I just want to know, how can
we afford the opportunity to stay in this world, the
world of art and spirit and mind the soul? But what I’m really
interested in is, what was your
answer to this question before you were Douglas
Rushkoff, media theorist and author? Or Jason Silva,
futurist techno-optimist and philosopher? How did you live
into this answer, and how has that changed now
that you’re on the other side? Because you made it. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I
mean, I was lucky. For the first eight or
10 years of my career, I made $8,000 to $10,000 a year. And I just didn’t mind because I
was having fun while the yuppie scum were all going to work. You know? So that was the beauty of
coming out as a slacker. Because it was celebrated
that with me and my friends, the idea was not
to have to work. That’s why now when I look at
Obama talking about job, let’s create jobs for everybody, it’s,
like, who wants a fucking job? [LAUGHTER] I don’t want a job. I want stuff and
access and all that. And I’d like to create things
and have meaningful engagement. But I don’t want a job. A job is an artifact
of the Renaissance. People didn’t have
jobs until 1300. They used to make
stuff and trade. They only got jobs when it was
illegal to make stuff yourself. You had to go work for
a chartered corporation. So when I hear questions
like that, it’s, like oh, because we’re accepting the
premise of this BS Industrial Age business model
that was there for kings and bourgeoisie,
who have long since left the building. And we don’t even remember
it’s their operating system that we’re keeping going. So there’s that. Lentils and rice is another– JASON SILVA: I love
lentils and rice. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah,
but you can live– JASON SILVA: I still
eat lentils and rice. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: You
can live a long time on lentils, rice, and water. You can. And fine spices and stuff,
without even being freegan, you can survive. And I did that for
a good long time. And I tutored kids
on their SATs. I mean, that taught me a lot
because I was in Beverly Hills. I would drive to these Beverly
Hills mansions in my used Ford Escort. And I’d park between the
gardener and the maid and then go tutor
some super-rich kid for three hours for $35
an hour or something, which is enough to live a
week if you did it frugally. So no, it was– Maybe those were easier
times than now on some level. But I was lucky, and
frankly, the fact that I was shoved out the chute
of an Ivy League education after Westchester High
School childhood, I mean, you’ve got such an
advantage already. You’re not being put
out on the ground. At that level of wealth, of
an upper middle class parent, you’re being shot out. You’ve got a long way
to go down before. So I’m a child of
privilege, you know. I see it that way. My fellows at Princeton, who
are all these private school rich kids, saw me as the
poor kid is the funny thing. You know? It was luck. And not getting off the bus. I think the big
thing is, I’ve never worked for some other thing. So everything I did was
investing in my own, I hate to use the word, like,
brand, but in my own franchise. In me. So it builds. The freelance lifestyle is more
secure than having a real job. Because they can’t fire you. When you lose this contract,
you’ve got five more. JASON SILVA: Well, it’s funny
you say that because there’s some school of thought that
says that in the future, everything is going to
be essentially freelance. And people talk about the
rise of the creative class and these people
empowered by technologies. It was some article I read
that was unbelievable. It was saying that there’s a
sort of mentality of people living in places like
Berlin or Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that think
it abominable to have to work for somebody else. And these are like
these creative people that have the education
of the upper class but maybe the income of,
like, the lower middle class. And so they’re like these super
intellectually affluent people that don’t necessarily
need things. So they’re not as
dependent on money because they don’t need
to buy as much stuff because they have everything. Just their laptop and
their iPhone, that’s it. So that’s really interesting. But to answer your question. I mean, I think for me, Steven
Johnson has a great line. He says, the world
is full of clues and you can read
your way through it. So I’ve always kind of
felt that, like, the signs are there, connecting the
dots on how I can do my thing and make it work. I was lucky enough to
grow up in a household where my parents, like,
encouraged me to kind of find my bliss, just make it happen. But also I think there’s
little techniques. George Carlin, actually,
was interviewed recently about his career. And he was talking about
psycho cybernetics. And he discovered this
book on psycho cybernetics. Are you familiar with this? And he was saying that
the brain is essentially a goal-seeking mechanism. And that there’s these
devices, these tricks you can use to
create impressions in your brain that then
teach your brain what to look for in the world
to connect the dots to achieve your goals. So he says the first impression
is, OK, you get an idea or you notice something
that inspires you. And you’re like, oh,
that’s what I want to do. Or that’s what moves me. So that’s impression one. Impression two is
you write it down. So you write it down. You’re already making
a second impression. You’re acknowledging it,
you’re writing it down. Impression three is looking
at your notes later. And then by that point you’ve
kind of primed your brain with this trajectory of this
network of ideas or concepts or whatever things
are turning you on. And then what happens
is a few days later you’re walking down the
street, and all of a sudden you start noticing all these
serendipitous signs that are connected to what
you were thinking about. And people always call
that magical thinking. They’re like, oh, it’s the
secret, I’m attracting it. It’s not that. It’s that you’ve
primed your brain to connect the dots using
that meta pattern, right? Because the signs
are always there. You can read
anything in any way. But in a way you’re
kind of like hacking your brain to pay
attention to the clues that are going to help you achieve
what you want to achieve. I feel like I didn’t know
about psycho cybernetics. But it actually echoes a
lot of the things I’ve done. Like, if I look at
my notes from, like, three or four years ago, I
have little, these scribblings and these lists, describing
exactly what ended up happening in my life. Like exactly like
where I was going to be and what I was going to
do and describing it. It’s just crazy how then you end
up having those patterns just marked in your head. And then you kind
of, it’s a thought. INTERVIEWER 4: Is it on? Wow. What a question. So I’ve been reading a
lot of history recently. And it seems to me that
in the large scale, all of human history’s
kind of like humanity trying to get up on its knees
and reach up for this higher ideal, and falling again,
and then reaching up again, and then falling again. And Kierkegaard said
that the good is slow, the evolution of good is slow. Because when you
have revolution, it destabilizes
what’s already there. And that just causes
more revolution, whereas when the good
is slow, it’s evolution. It doesn’t leave anybody behind. And that was just a comment,
that wasn’t a question. But I recently read
in a Russian magazine an article that questioned
several spiritual leaders, Christian, Buddhist,
just [INAUDIBLE] people, some professors, about their
psychedelic experiences and what that had to do
with their spiritual growth. And they all
unanimously said that it had nothing to do with
their spiritual growth. It did cognitively, and it did
with their experiential growth, but nothing to do
with spiritual growth. And in my personal opinion, I
believe that the whole point is spiritual growth. Well, their amazing psychedelic
experiences, they said, really corresponded
to their state of mind and what they were primed
to find in the first place. So wouldn’t the intention,
whether of a good trip or building up this amazing
alternative reality, world first, wouldn’t the intention
be a lot more important than the actual trip
or the experience? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I mean, for
me psychedelics seem much closer to psychotherapy
than spirituality. And part of that
is because there’s a duality implicit in
taking a drug, right? There’s before
you take the drug, and while you’re on
the drug, and after. You’re getting high. So high means, and
then you’re low? So there’s this sort
of duality in it. And for me, I got
really into this idea of birthing another
human species through collective whatever. It was sort of when I was back
in the rave psychedelic mode. And I thought that the
ultimate spiritual progression of our species would be
to achieve meta organism and then give birth
to some other thing. And then so I had that. Then I get married and
have a kid and went, oh, that was easy. Well, hard, but you
know what I mean. But that was like, it’s like,
the real tools of evolution have been staring me in
the face all the time. And they are more subtle. They are more slow. They’re not these giant,
system-wide, revolutionary leaps. Revolutions are what? Revolutions are circles. That’s what they do. I’m into Renaissance,
which is what? Rebirth. Rebirth of old ideas
in a new context. So you get a new technology, a
new media environment, and now we can retrieve
things and bring all those who didn’t come along
with us and go, oh, my gosh, those aboriginal
people that we thought were all doing nonsense. They actually have
the technology that we need in order to
get incrementally forward. JASON SILVA: I concur. [LAUGHTER] INTERVIEWER 5: Hi. JASON SILVA: Hi. INTERVIEWER 5: So
Douglas Rushkoff touched on this
before on the fact that the agendas
matter, like the agendas that we have matter. And so I guess what I’m trying
to ask is that, to Jason Silva. When you talk about this future
where our technologies advance so much, and
singularity, and what’s going to happen
after that, don’t you ever feel afraid that things
will advance so quickly without necessarily thinking
about what we want to do, what our agendas are
when we have this future? I feel like, what happens
if these things do end up in the wrong hands? Or if it’s in the right hands,
but we don’t necessarily know what to do because things
are moving too fast for us? JASON SILVA: Sure. I mean, there’s a great article
in the website for The Edge Foundation that was saying
that when the astronauts first turned around and took a
picture of the Earth from space, that changed the story
of who and what we were. That picture provided
a different context and a different way of seeing
and understanding ourselves and in turn changed the story. Changed the context,
changed the story, changed reality of what we are. And that now in the
face of these emerging technologies, that we
are due for a new story. And I’m not a scientist. I tell people, I was hearing
this filmmaker once saying, I’m in the feelings
business, or I’m in the imagination business. But I feel like my
small contribution to that is the exploration
in the media that I make. So my short videos
are speculative, and they’re about technology. But they’re also
about metaphysics, and they’re about
the human condition, and they’re about love,
and they’re about loss. And they’re meant to provoke a
conversation and a discussion, you know? And I always say, I just
want a seat at the table. You know what I’m saying? Because I agree with you. I think that we need to be
talking about these agendas. And I want to be part of
that conversation, for sure. That is an ambition
of mine, for sure. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: That’s funny. I remember the first few
times I was interviewed when I did my first book. What are you doing? I just want a seat at the table. I used to say that all the time. I just want to be a part of
that conversation, a real part of that conversation. But the thing is, then you
get your seat at the table. And now, which is sort of where
she’s going, it’s like, well, now what? Now you’ve got your
seat at the table, and then you realize,
oh, I’m not a journalist. I’m a propagandist. Right? And that’s OK. So what am I? What am I? Because we’re all propagandists. There’s no such thing
as balanced journalism. That was such a stupid
idea, that we’d be balanced. It’s like, where do
you put the fulcrum? JASON SILVA: Stop
pretending, exactly. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah. So instead we’re
arguing for something. We’re fighting for something. We’re trying to persuade
people of something. We’re trying to at least get
our mirror neurons activated by people agreeing with us. But then what do we
want to throw out there, is where you go with it. And it’s funny. For me it started, I used to
say, oh, what I’m trying to do is get people off
their bad trip. I felt like I’d go in
front of audiences, and everybody’s, oh, technology
and this and, oh, the internet. I’m going to change. I’m going to have
to learn something. JASON SILVA: You
told me that that’s the phase I’m in right now. I’m getting people
off their bad trip. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Get
people off the bad trip. JASON SILVA: That’s my phase. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: To say no, no. It’s going to be OK. Waking up is not
going to be so hard. It’s going to be OK. Everything is OK. Don’t worry, don’t
worry, don’t worry. It’s all right, have fun. And follow them
down their corridor so that they really believe
that you understand the terror. So that you can take
them out of there. But then it’s
like, so then what? Then what? I mean, and you can do that
because the phase of life that you’re in, you
still have the exuberance to make people feel comforted,
you know, and OK and excited. But then it’s like, OK, so
then when they’re on the trip, now where? JASON SILVA: Who’s
steering the Starship? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah,
what do we do with that? And I tell you– JASON SILVA: It’s
a work in progress. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
Yeah, but the ones who have been steering the
Starship, I don’t trust them. I mean, whether it’s Mark
Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin. They’re at that side. Or whether it’s Ray Kurzweil
or Kevin Kelly and those guys. I don’t trust them either. I feel like they are
still in the story. You know what I mean? They’re still trying
to figure out a story. And what story are
we going to tell. And I think it’s time,
stories are for children. You tell children stories at
night so they go to sleep. And you try to dose it with some
programming about the morals that you want them to
have when they grow up. But I think we’re
past stories now. We’re in something more like
a game, or more an adventure, or more an experiential
something like the theater experiments you
were talking about. It’s a different way
of taking people. INTERVIEWER 6: Hey, guys. This side. And kind of related to that. In this age where
technology and social media are kind of like this limitless
extension of our individual being, can it be kind
of counterproductive in interpersonal communications
where, especially young people, there is no delete key? And it’s kind of taken them
away from improvisational face-to-face conversation,
where they’re uncomfortable
interacting with people where they can’t go back and
delete what they’ve said. Where now there’s this kind
of insecurity in just talking face to face. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: And
then throw the market on top of that
and a value system where you actually have a
number of how many friends you have as a way of judging. You have metrics for your
popularity and success. It’s tricky. 94% of human communication
happens nonverbally. So what happens when you grow
up in an environment where you’re using text to engage? You end up with a kind of an
induced Asperger syndrome, where you don’t
make eye contact, you’re afraid to
make eye contact, you don’t know how
to establish rapport. You don’t know how
to not just stand up in front of a group of
people, but to engage live with one other person. You resort to this. Or you relate through the selfie
rather than through the self. JASON SILVA: I agree with what
you’re saying to an extent. But I also think that
that is a criticism that is biased in favor of
the communication style that we’re comfortable with
and that we’re used to. And this assumption that
this new one is not as good, et cetera, et cetera. But Kurzweil, who is a
friend of mine, he says, look, we’re not going to be
interacting with each other through these
square-shaped devices. I mean, these are
temporary growing pains. These devices are going
to be shrinking down to the size of blood cells. They’re going to
be in our brains. Sending a text message is going
to be very different than going down into a screen like that. We’ll be able to just send
our thoughts to one another. Maybe we’ll transcend
verbal communication. Maybe we’ll transcend words. We’ll be able to
become each other and merge our consciousnesses. I mean, there are all these
speculative, exotic things on the horizon, potentially. But I think to criticize
it now as if it was the end of the way humans
communicate, I’m like, no. It is what it is. And if you are not
a fan of it, then make sure you practice
being present. But I wouldn’t label it,
like, the end of the world. It just is what it is. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I don’t think
it’s the end of the world. But I think it has to
be balanced, is all, by some real-world engagement. I get concerned when I see kids
in a classroom with a teacher, and they’re all looking
at their tablets. You know, it’s like,
no, when you’re in the classroom with a
teacher, you shouldn’t even be looking at the book. I mean, remember
“Captain, My Captain?” They put away the
poetry book, and they engaged with each other. Our face-to-face
time is so minimal. And how are we going to
know what the nanos should do if we aren’t experiencing the
full breadth of what we already have? JASON SILVA: I
think we have time for one or two more questions. And then we have some vodka
for you guys if you’re over 21. Thank you to Russian
Standard Vodka for providing the free vodka bar after this. INTERVIEWER 7: OK,
so you guys obviously have a lot of views on
psychedelics and stuff. But what do you think
the most legitimate and, I guess, the most efficient
way to reintroduce psychedelics as a legitimate tool? JASON SILVA: It’s
already happening. I mean, the majority
of Americans now in the latest polls support
full marijuana legalization. The majority of Americans. So that’s not even
taboo anymore. And as that becomes more
mainstream and more legalized, you’re going to start to see the
emergence of a class of citizen that is not the stereotypical
stoner with the bong hit playing video games. But what’s going to happen
when these, oh, my god, all these screenwriters
like to get high? All these brilliant
thinkers like to get high? Wow. Oh, not everybody uses it in
a destructive, addicting way. Oh, so this is a tool
for your creativity? Oh, that’s interesting. A recent study that looked at
semantic priming in marijuana found that marijuana
actually induces a state of hyperpriming,
which means it expands your associative net. It expands your
capacity to connect the dots between seemingly
disparate ideas, a sign of creativity right there. Or at Johns Hopkins
University, where they’re doing psilocybin
mushroom studies with people who have terminal
illnesses and making them process their own mortality
in a radically different way. I think even the government. I mean, there is going to be
a psychedelic renaissance. And I think we’re already
seeing it a little bit, right? DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah. [LAUGHTER] I’m certainly more
interested in that than watching Big
Pharma neutralize the inside elements
of these drugs and turn them into coping
neurotransmitter modulators. Which is where they went
with it in 30 years. And luckily, I mean, the
plants are still there. They’re still, well, it’s
not illegal yet, I guess. A lot of seeds are illegal. So the whole thing
with seeds and Monsanto and copyrighting
your genes and stuff. That gets really tricky, too. Because if we take that,
it’s like right now it feels to me like
the technosphere and the marketplace
are equivalent. And if we can somehow
parse them from each other, I’m going to like the
technosphere a lot more. Because then the agenda,
then it’s going to be like, what’s technology for? To make us more human. It’s to realize our
full potential, rather than what’s technology for? Well, it’s to enhance the– JASON SILVA: What we can sell. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Yeah. What we can sell. Or how we can extract data. JASON SILVA: Fair enough. OK, one more question. INTERVIEWER 8: OK, that’s me. I’m the lucky lady right here. Thank you so much for
this conversation. Incredibly invigorating. Jason, you are like an
electrifying optimist. And Douglas, you’re a very
reassuring practical person for me. “Shots of Awe” is like a
lightning bolt of inspiration. And I got super high on it. And then I was like, crash. Wait, there are some things
he’s just not talking about, and Douglas brings them
into the conversation. So what would be incredibly
awesome for me in my world is like a super organism the
way that a flock of swallows flies through the sky. Like if humanity could
take that metaphor and, like you say,
use technology to become more human and more
telepathic and more in touch with each other, that we’re
like aesthetically, peacefully in harmony through the sky. That’s what I want. Now what I see as
the barrier there is the digital
divide and education. For me, education is that,
like, exponential wormhole that could take us to this
utopic future that you talk of. And I would love to hear
what your thoughts are from a systemic perspective on
how we can improve and enhance the system of education. Because I’ve worked in
education for a long time. And I’ll tell you the
statistics, the facts. In New York City,
40% of our kids are not graduating
in four years. That’s more than
500,000 students right now, snapshot,
that are not going to graduate in four years. That’s the size of
the city of Atlanta. So it’s like a whole city
subsidy within our city that are not going
to be literate, let alone digital literacy, which is
all these amazing things you’re talking about, which
I’m so excited about. But I’m at a loss. And so I’d love to hear the
conversation and debate, like, what’s going
to get us there? Because I believe we’re
going to get there. But I just need a little
bit more to hold onto. JASON SILVA: Yeah. Well, I mean, just briefly,
I agree with the problems that you’re talking about. But I think education is
due for a massive upgrade. I think the whole idea of how
we teach, and how we learn, and whether it’s
doing more fMRI scans, and introducing
crazy psychotropics into the classroom. Maybe after you’re 18. No, but I’m just saying,
like, I think we need to– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: You
just lost the job as– JASON SILVA: –completely– DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: –chancellor
of the schools in New York. JASON SILVA: I
just think that we need to not have an educational
system that is still of, like, the Industrial Revolution Age. I mean, I went to a
Montessori school, which has a kind of different
philosophical agenda. But at the same time, I
think these technologies and these tools are giving
us radical new opportunities. I think there was a Bill Clinton
article in “Time” magazine called “The Case
for Optimism,” where he says, forget about the
haves and the have-nots because the cell phone
was one of the greatest inventions in history to
pull people out of poverty, for example. And the idea of
the digital divide is actually not
what we thought it was going to be because
people are wired, people are going
on the internet. Whether or not they’re using
that to watch LOL cat videos or actually learn stuff
online, that’s something else. I’m a big fan of
Sir Ken Robinson and a lot of his
ideas about education. And kind of like, not try to
turn everybody into a robot and so on and so forth. But my mom also taught for
five years at the South Bronx. So I’m also privy
to a broken system and understand how
that works as well. But I just think, throw
away what’s not working. Be willing to upgrade
the whole thing. Put everything into
question if we have to. Start from the ground up. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I
mean, yeah, it’s funny. This question brings up
everything sort of I’ve been thinking about tonight. I mean, on the one
hand, the thing I did after my decade of awe
was look and basically said, I’m going to go to the darkest
places of mind and of reality and test my awe. And I’m going to go as deep
as I can, without losing it, and then pull back and figure
out how to work with it. So the first thing, I
went to South Africa before the elections and go
around Soweto and see basically test myself in the
darkest possible places to then look, what do we do? As a way of challenging
my awe and earning my awe by going dark. So when I go dark,
I’m not a pessimist. But rather than just talking
people down off their bad trips now from my happy young place,
what I do is I go into the, the only good trip
is a bad trip. I go into the bad trip so that
I can then find my way back. I get as lost as I can in
the despair of, oh, my god, and money and blah, blah,
blah, and then come back. Education is definitely
one of those places. And education is the place
where we can say, OK, we can use digital technology to
build on our education system. And make kids more job ready. And teach them code, and do
this, and give them that, and so they can get into IBM. In other words, and that would
be the constructivist approach, the dialectic approach. We’re going to build
on top of that. Or we can say,
digital technology and the big digital changes and
opportunity to go back and say, and this is what the
sophist would do. This is what the grammarian
would do in this situation, is go, what’s education for? What is it for? Right now what it’s for, if you
look at Ellwood Cubberley, who created the modern American,
New York education system. It was to create, we all know,
workers for American factories. So that’s why they have
bells after every class. This is why your
school is like that. They’re trying to make
you a good factory person. The teacher is the foreman. And you students
are the workers. And the bell rings. You go to the next place. You learn, you memorize this. You do that. Follow my orders and go. Do you have a hall pass? No, good. That’s what it’s for. It was constructed to do that. And now, we’re like, well,
what is education for? And it depends. It depends on what we think
the future of the economy is. I mean, if education
is to create a new peer-to-peer
society of creative people who are engaging, if we
accept the fact that we only need people working
10% of the time in order to give everyone enough
food and shelter and stuff they need, what are we doing with
the other 90% of human activity? So then what you have to
do is go back and you say, oh, education is to imbue
people with the ability to do critical thinking. The need for the
liberal arts education is actually more important
now than it was before, because now we need
a generation who’s going to ask the big questions. If anything, the
purpose of education now is to create the people who
can develop the next education system. JASON SILVA: There you go. It’s very meta. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: Go
meta on it, but, yeah. JASON SILVA: Cool. Well, thank you, guys. Join us for a drink. DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF:
Thank you, yeah. [APPLAUSE]

100 thoughts on “Jason Silva and Douglas Rushkoff | Creative Session

  1. And now I give up! I can stand the pessimism of Rushkoff, he constantly kept changed the subject to talk about the crap of his socialism and how the bourgeoisie is bad.

  2. jason silva has adhd, like me. 

  3. Thanks to both of you for doing this!

  4. I enjoyed both positions. Douglas makes a great point that we should not eliminate human interaction despite the advances of technology. Ultimately, human interaction supersedes technology. When you remove the action of humans interacting with other humans you create numb individuals who are trapped in a virtual reality. A great book to read is "Alone together. Why we expect more from technology and less from each other" – Sherry Turkle  

  5. Brilliant video, great discussion! 

  6. it almost feels like we're all taking a collective step into the future through this video – cathartic to say the least.

  7. What a pair – talk about 'wow.' Not the "undynamic duo," the 2-ingredient recipe. Sound plus sight, desperately seeking attention. Half unintelligible prattle with its amp "up to eleven" (noise imitating signal) – the rest, wildly gesticulating hands. Like some mawkish imitation of nonverbal communication, trying to make up for the vacuum of verbal content. "Sign Languaging the Ineffable" are we? Show and Tell for the gullible, press 'awe buttons' to see who goes "Wow, maaan?" Lucky for psychonautic flakes they aren't under subpoena, get to pick and choose their venue. Given a hearing, this McKennical Man brand of attention-seeking jabber ("shamanic alchemy" huh?), if ever submitted in evidence as sworn testimony, under cross exam – would get picked apart like Thanksgiving turkey, with greatest of ease. I'd like see Silva try answering – someone else's query (not his own "pre-approved") – with his wrists cuffed. Its a "shot of awe" to picture his struggle in his verbal quicksand, desperately trying to 'clarify' his incoherent garble – in words, not guessing game hand jiving – talk about 'show.' To elicit him but with his 'handy' visual distraction cues disenabled – placed in restraint – would be a new height of unintentional real life comedy, plus poetic justice – rolled into one. Meanwhile, till such day dawns, psychonautic 'hail Terence' Status Quo prevails in the fringe. Where its all 'wow' bs all the time – on parade. No big laughs but – a minor intrigue to pull up lawn chair, take in the spectacle. And wonder, even look forward to seeing – what the near future holds for this Little Movement That Could …. if only.

  8. Keep big pharma money away from psychedelic research, keep it pure, don't ever let them "fund" research!

  9. Interesting conversation. I admire them both. They shouldn't be allowed to drink coffee, though 😉 !

  10. This is great. I would love to see more of these informative, inspiring talks. So glad I subscribed.

  11. At first I disliked Douglas because he was passively aggressive in his contrarianism towards Jason's beliefs, and i disliked how douglass deflected the entire discussion away from jasons desire to turn the discussion towards what in my opinion is Jason's strength and charisma, his framing of his interests (the montessori way is go by what interests you); which are the ways he contextualizes an interesting idea on what's coming in the future or what we are building ourselves/world into, via a quote, then paraphrases an authors ideas on the future possibilities and uses great metaphorical tangents for casual listeners/viewers to shore up our understanding of what it means (I am given a future hack by listening to Jason, its more a newsletter in a way for me, often times a spiritual newsletter at that)..  But then I realized that even though the discussion could have gone a more shots of awe route, I saw the character gradually reveal itself of both these men, and the annoying contrarian opinions of Douglass became more and more clear, especially hitting it on the head when he mentioned pulling apart technological progress from economic industrial modeled profit motives.. Douglass at the end appeared to me to be a man being an extreme contarian for a reason, and his reason to represent the artisan way, the way of social capital and of not getting lost in the cloud forming from all this infotech, which will eventually culminate in many ways Jason describes.. I enjoyed the catharsis at the end, and seeing jasons character being tested by one who has seen both sides, the Princeton and the dark places in life, and balanced himself from both sides of the worlds metaphorical coin.. I am proud of Jason for being a good sport and uploading this video on principle as a philosopher, following the ideals of dialectic discussion.. He learned something.. I am apt to think that his friendship with ray k. may be one in which he is being manipulated and used as rays public spokesman, as Douglass was implying I think.. Shots of awe has a lot of subscribers, ray knows this, and Jason is a good looking, smart, well speaking and charismatic figure I was pretty sold on as a voice to listen to unquestioningly. I still am but I hope he understood where Douglass has and was coming from. Bravo to both of you, both of you are nice avatar like representatives of what I am aware of is cutting edge upcoming events in our world and future. 

  12. Thanks for an interesting discussion and an inspiration. Too bad people will always watch 3minute video instead of this, but im very happy you are still making it:)

  13. anyone ever wondered – what if our brain worked in reverse of how it works now..??

  14. My mind was blown like 10 times. Like some other guy said, these are better than the shorts since the shorts for me have kinda gotten a bit repetative

  15. I love this talk because my view of Jason is that he is too optimistic and my view on Douglas is that he is too pessimistic. They have a interesting way of balancing each other out lol!

  16. Really nice conversation, I agree much more with Jason Silva ideas though!

  17. This video is amazing in so many ways. Rushkoff is what we would call a enlightened conservative and Jason knows that, thats why he interviews and enjoys talking to people like him. It really couldnt get more interesting that this talk with two perfect point of views. I completely understand the way that this man sees the world because of his age and the concepts, ideas and morals that grew up around. But jason has the perfect mind of this new age. This is the way that enlightened people think: open to all possibilities, open minded. When you watch a talk like this, you get a taste of an old generation and a new generation entrepreneur. In a world of duality, balance is key. I loved this!!

  18. They both need to chill out, listen to each other, then respond. It would make for a way more impactful conversation instead of a conjuring of random debatable ideas that try to overpower each others opinion.

  19. Yes!  Jason and Douglas come to Burning Man <3 !!!  

  20. The problem with Douglas's argument for Psychedelics being used as a medicine and thats all they are, is psychedelics can cause people to go insane. Well, release their underlying insanity.

  21. Great conversation, guys, thank you! Would love to see "wee shots of awe" for the kids. I watch with my babes, but would be great if there was a more easily digestible version for them "chewable"  lol…. Keep it up anyway, please 😉 "Shots for tots" (I'm just playin')…

  22. @Shots of Awe I dare you to try similar conversations or forums in the future where everyone in the audience comes with the intention of being mic'd up and/or with video camera glasses for the socializing discussion after the main conversation. There are a lot of cool dynamics that could be explored through that kind of non-linear event recording. Maybe offer a few sponsors prizes or other incentives for the best question or thought stream or feedback loop or solution to an important problem or paradox? Would need to get a few people to then mash up the records which might make it ideal for a university team of volunteers. With plenty of planning one could even recreate the entire event virtually so that people could revisit like a game. I don't know what the best kind of name for event recording like this, I have been playing with the term "Quantum Event Recording" What do you think?

  23. yes, son i inhaled at your age too.;)

  24. the gal in the audience- evolution vs revolution,  had it pegged;)

  25. It's great that you shared this discussion. Both of you are great minds in your own field of ideas and this kind of discussion brings out the best of both. Many people are commenting on Douglas' ideas but I don't think that Douglas is a downer/negative person. He just acknowledges the truth that he sees in reality and I somewhat share this view of the truth. He has this "classical" kind of thinking that is somewhat a contrast to Jason's "romantic" thinking. I sometimes think that Shots of Awe is too far off the center of the spectrum. Maybe it is not filtering itself enough. But Shots of Awe is one of the best channels in Youtube nonetheless. I just want to remind everyone that you should always take everything you watch with a grain of salt. Always be on the edge.

  26. That was excellent, but can anyone tell me the part where he was talking about the secret? i forget where it is he described it really well.

  27. I am now firmly convinced that at his heart, Douglas Rushkoff is a marxist luddite.

  28. The guys described one of his experiences of AWE as standing at a fence watching kids play at recess? That's creepy, even thought he was having a awe experience.

  29. the education system definitely needs to be overhauled.

  30. more of these, please!

  31. 29 minute mark: "Creativity is doing what humans do: constant learning in limitless possibilities."

    I'm so grateful to watch this – free. Thank you for this medicine <3

  32. "Mimir was an Aesirian god also believed to be a water spirit … he resided by and guarded a Well of Wisdom… drank from this well daily and was recorded to be “the wisest of the world’s beings.” The eldest Norse god, Odin, according to the text, was in need of the wisdom to save the world from destruction. He sought to drink from this well, but Mimir’s fee for a drink from the well was steep: the seeker’s right eye. Hesitantly, Odin made this sacrifice to receive a drink.  It is said his eye was then tossed into the well so that others would see the price that must be paid."
    -E.C. Rammel/Beth

  33. My oversimplification and perhaps somewhat accurate paraphrase of the entire conversation:

    Jason: "The future blah blah better toys and masturbatory equipment that keeps us ejaculating in more ways than just sexual"
    Douglas: "Yeah, what about now? What about dealing with social problems, economic problems, psychological problems? What can our toys do to help us with that? But I like your ideas, but I used to share them before I got REALLY experienced in both light and dark facets of the human condition."

    For me: I don't choose any sides as people are doing here in these comments. I like the balance of both. It's great to dream, and we should to the nth degree, but let's bring what we learn back and implement that at the end of the day. I can dig that!

  34. Most important thing said in the whole talk is at 1:05. Stories are what you tell to children to help them fall asleep, this is so incredibly important. The world's addiction to narrative is the skin we have to shed if we want to understand the path through the 21st century. Everyone wants their story to be THE story but the internet in it's infancy is already dismantling that. The era we will enter soon is that of the recombining. It is not a game, a game is still a story, it is a poem.

  35. Are you afraid to die Jason?

  36. Please continue with this show. its interessting beyond description!

  37. Man this was beautiful.

  38. 1:13:48 – I agree with Silva that we need a modern educational model / pedagogy that wasn't created at the turn of the Industrial Revolution. Rushkoff, 1:16:33, is spot on.

  39. This was simply beautiful! Thank you for uploading this. I appreciate you spreading the love.

  40. 13:57 Man Im stoned now and scared; of them talking over each other. Jason seems upset.

  41. Sounds like Silva is always kind of craving more more more for his experience while Rushkoff is just like, "Dude.. Things are alright just as they are. Just be."

  42. Fuck yeah!

  43. Douglas Rushkoff is a buzzkill. He keeps couching the discussion in terms of getting stoned, plastered, hammered, almost to the point that I felt he was going say keep who seek these experiences are wasting time.

    You could say that he's the anti-flow of the prefrontal cortex. He's the mechanism in the brain that keeps interrupting you and distracting you with worries that get you nowhere.

  44. Jason Silva has a mindset headed toward the future while maintaining a special preserved spot in his consciousness for the present. If Douglas Rushkoff is obviously pessimistic and stuck in the past and obsessed with physical matter rather the evolution of the mind. Mind over Matter. Namaste Jason Silva.

  45. At around 1:09 I have complete %100 agreement on what Jason silva is addressing !!

  46. 1:09:00

  47. Easily one of the most epic conversations on the internet.

  48. You haven't been to Burning Man!?

  49. Simple, Creativity Is Relating To Things

  50. Go Jason!!!!!!!!!

  51. Creativeness all the way-

  52. What do you think of this:  Mystics and psychonauts have the "we are all one" experience. DR, the 99% of yourself you have not integrated (or woken) may correlate with the 99% of humanity that is under oppression, who are not free to imagine much in a situation where the tech could now easily free them. Free them (say with Basic Income) and you can test how or if "we are all one" – if widespread freedom opens vaults of creativity, you in your depth dives might find some more of your own 99% waking up.

  53. get high in nature!! keep the planet safe . We are ready in a matrix ..

  54. Hi there, Jason. I don't know if you'll read this, but on the topic of DNA, Proteins, etc and that portion of the talk, I'd say it might be a good idea for you to maybe check out Rupert Sheldrake and his talks. You might like them in particularly since you're so fond of Terence McKenna. The both of them are good friends from what I believe. A good one to check out may be the Trialogues one on YouTube. Unless you're already familiar with all this. Then ignore all of the above 😛
    Anyway, I really enjoy Shots of Awe. Thought-provoking talks, ideas and concepts you bring to the table. A friend of mine and me have thing where we kinda go "Oh my god! He's talking about all the things we've always thought about but never put into words."
    Really awesome work, man. Great going and hope to see more in the future 🙂

    <Wall of Text Ends>

  55. @Jason Silva I think @Douglas Rushkoff pwns you at exactly 21m20s, but you kinda miss it.  Maybe study that moment.  He's attacking your livelihood and he makes a powerful point.

  56. I like Joe Rogan's response to Jason Silva when he was on one of his 'merging with computers' trips on his podcast. [Roughly paraphrasing] "Come on. Are you saying we won't have to take shits anymore? That you'll be so advanced you won't have to take a shit?"

  57. The bit coin comment is priceless..

  58. Has anyone tried ayahuasca and do you recommend it?

  59. Good debate!

  60. We're talking about evolutionary success. Nobody is really thinking about ecological catastrophe that we currently have. Mass extinction on species both plants and animal. Oceans full of trash. What future we have with the technology when we have no place to live, no clean air to breathe, no fish to eat. Gonna live inside of facebook or twitter pages? I don't think we can really think about expansion and evolution but rather survival and global manipulation. Just my opinion. Great show anyway.

  61. Amazing talk.

  62. This stuff helps my soul breath clearly for the first time..

  63. Tried some of greatest psychotropic induced and non induced rituals in the american continent. Nothing beats meditation and real inner conection. All I can say is this: enjoy and focus on what you are naturally given, not artificially sold!

  64. Holly shit they're going at it! xD I NEED MORE

  65. Oh man, I'm loving this!

  66. this opposing ideas thing is really interesting, they should do more.

  67. Blog over Douglas : https://yoo.rs/henkjan.de-krijger/blog/douglas-rushkoff-fijne-inzichten-toepasbaar-op-yoors-1450617289.html

  68. Perfect blend of discussion and debate. Either one gets tiresome. Switching back and forth invigorates. Oh, by the way, great topics and concepts are covered as well !

  69. 36:20 – 36:40 , I think that's actually "reality" as we speak.

  70. A cynic talking with a idealist, its kind of frustrating

  71. Jason has managed to build a name on pure enthusiasm, rehashing the same tweet-sized, espresso profundities for years. Doesn't lead anywhere, really, but it's a good story to peddle, the possible cynicism being much preferable and healthier viewpoint. Douglas is much more sober I find, although he himself has seems to have a pro-human sentimentality, reality-porn which is awestruck by banality just because it's "real".

    Interesting talk, even if disjointed.

  72. I like Jason Silva but I don't think some people get it, it's fun the virtual reality but to live in it means you're further cocooning yourself when you are already under several layers of bizarre shit that most people don't even think about for some reason.
    I think what we immediately see or perceive, is only the first wall and we can sort of feel there's way more out there and not just universes and nothing.

  73. New Balance

  74. Jason Silva and Douglas Rushkoff! I am very happy in saying "You're contrasts are amazing to behold" Thank you for being you. 👌🤓👍

  75. Although adding another voice into this conversation may be too much, it would be really interesting to watch a dialogue between Rushkoff, Silva, and Wes Cecil.

  76. I can see how smart you are but you make it hard to follow along sometimes

  77. Silva is way ahead of this guy in terms of consciousness and the cosmos.

  78. Douglas, I absolutely agreed with enverything you said, I would love to work hand by hand with people like you to make our visions of the possible present and subsequent future a reality.

  79. Ya no.. it will never end no your never never gonna get it… 😂

  80. Play this on 0.5 speed.. You're welcome.

  81. These monkeys just love to talk although it's highly enjoyable discussion, a complex language use and profound insights of great ideas. People like these should go mainstream world wide. Thank you Jason, I hope in future we could sit down, burn weed and sync our minds.

  82. Please Jason find more minds and create more of these hour long heterotopic mindgasm syncs

  83. i think silva may fall under the psychological umbrella of schizotypalism

  84. this is crazy important shit for people to be watching. fucking dope.

  85. Hmm I like talks where both people build a creative conversation together and less one person monologueing and not allowing the other person to talk

  86. A+ on the Digital = ManOS reference! Thank you. The work of our hands…..

  87. I encourage the dream makers to creatively embark on a Git Hub commit. It can be magic.

  88. Jeez Luweez how long are you going to be in the Big Apple? Till the fire is quenched?

  89. He has chosen the path of many dimenciones!

  90. The game of Claire Audience!

  91. Great movie (: I think roxxxo i the best way.

  92. Shut up, Jason.

  93. i had to stop listening, truly annoying.

  94. Jason is a hype machine, tough to listen, a highly caffeinated enthusiasm full of one ups.

  95. 21:30 STFU Rushkoff…

  96. When we 'agreed' to allow Money (numbers) to Rule over society we opened the door to machines running the show

  97. Two minutes into this….. exactly.

  98. Jason Silva "mindsets" are essential for spirit, mind, innovations, imagination, flow everyday and more. Steven Kotler is the rein of the idea "s". One assists the other to some degree. However, flowing each day knowing your better because of it and sharing it with the world daily….Fuck! Those that rein I always found as a hindrance… learned a lot from each. Thank you

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