Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I know I do. So often in our busy lives we’re worried about paying the rent, being on time to that big meeting, making time for all our friends and family, or a million other concerns… “When I look even at the cosmos at night sometimes, especially from a place with no light pollution, you know, I can’t help but get caught up in wanting to know ‘is there some kind of unseen order here?’ … And granted, scientists tell us ‘no,’ but something in the human heart I think finds it difficult to recoil with the idea that there is nothing.” – Jason Silva
Being a human is hard work! Especially the way we do it today.
All too often, we get caught up in our worries and we forget to wonder. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Stop and smell the roses,” but that’s a lot easier said than done. It can be really tough to make time in our schedules to slow down, stop worrying about whatever’s next, and just enjoy being present in our lives.
Fortunately for us, my guest today is a great storyteller. And if there’s one person who has just a wealth of wisdom that can help us truly remember our child-like capacity for wonder, it’s him.
He is truly a jack-of-all-trades. Jason’s professional journey started at the University of Miami, where he earned degrees in both film production and philosophy. He’s got a lot of technical skill, but he also has the intellectual curiosity and drive you need to do some really interesting stuff. He’s an incredibly thoughtful and hard-working person, and those things have led him to some incredible places.
Jason is a highly in-demand keynote speaker, and he’s given talks all around the world at events for Microsoft, The Discovery Channel, Ted Global, and National Geographic, among others.
Additionally, he has already had an impressive career in film and television. Jason is the host of Brain Games, National Geographic’s Emmy-nominated TV show. Brain Games is broadcasted in 171 countries around the world and is a total global phenomenon with Jason at the helm. He’s also the filmmaker behind the YouTube channel, Shots of Awe. There, Jason posts his own original content and invites you to “Join the Party,” and wonder about the capacity for human intelligence and creativity. Jason’s videos boast hundreds of thousands of views and are truly a great source of inspiration.
And finally, Jason also hosts the hit podcast, Flow Sessions. On the podcast, Jason talks about a wide range of topics from technology to mental health transformation, and he shares a ton of knowledge and wisdom that he’s acquired over his career.
He’s a storyteller, filmmaker, philosopher, and futurist. But more than that, Jason is basically a professional wonder-er.
“But the larger question is what to do with our brains, what to do with our perceptions and our misconceptions is something that still agitates me.”
Jason is absolutely fascinated by human consciousness. He’s a true philosopher, and he loves to think about the beauty within us. He’s also interested in asking big questions about life, love, and death. And that’s why I was so excited to have him on the podcast today.
With a guy as smart as Jason in the house, I couldn’t help but dive straight into some really deep questions. I asked Jason what he thinks our biggest fear is as humans. That’s a huge question! But Jason has done his homework and learned a lot about this subject, so he had a great answer for me:
“Well, I think the fear is uncertainty. I think that’s the reason why there is a billion dollar industry now teaching people how to become more present, and the irony is if we would have been able to ‘live in the present’ 10,000 years ago, we would have gotten eaten by the lion that we didn’t see coming.” – Jason Silva
There’s a lot to talk about in there, so Jason broke it down for me. 10,000 years ago, the most important thing for humans was the ability to predict the future. 10,000 years ago, when we didn’t have all the technology and convenience we have today, the possibility of getting eaten by a lion was a very real possibility. So we adapted, and humans evolved to become more aware of how our everyday actions will affect our likelihood of survival. People who could predict that a lion might be nearby were a lot less likely to get eaten!
Today, of course, we don’t get eaten by lions very often. Our lives are, in many ways, much safer. Basic survival is not really an issue. But because of the way we evolved, we still have this tendency to try to anticipate the danger that we might find in the future.
Basically, we continue to fear that our lives are threatened, even though the immediate danger is not very high anymore.
But because of this fear, we try to plan out every single little detail of our lives. Jason says it’s like “the brain has become too ordered.” We feel this pressure to anticipate everything that might happen in the future, but when the future isn’t dangerous, we stop paying attention to what’s happening right now.
For many of us, this constant worrying about the future leads to mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
“… our brain is so effective at saying ‘I know what this is’ and making predictions about the future, and if the future is not dangerous we’re not even paying attention to what’s happening right now. So we live with this kind of perpetual low level hum of anxiety …” – Jason Silva
Fortunately, though, Jason has some great solutions to this problem.
You’ve probably experienced some of that anxiety we’ve been talking about. I have, for sure. We get overwhelmed with thinking about the future, and we forget to enjoy our lives right now. So how can we overcome that tendency we’ve evolved to anticipate every danger we might or might not meet in the future?
“… perhaps the answer to the existential agitation of what to do with ourselves in the face of death is simply to stop and smell the roses, to learn to steward the contents of consciousness to the here and now.” – Jason Silva
We’ve all heard the expression, “stop and smell the roses,” but Jason really thinks there’s some truth in it. When we consciously slow down and take the time to enjoy what we’re doing, we disrupt our patterns of thinking. We stop our usual routine of constantly thinking ahead and worrying about the future. Instead, we appreciate the beauty around us.
But that’s easier said than done. It can be hard to consciously choose to stop and smell the roses. After all, the problem is that we’re trying to break thought patterns that are automatic for us, right? So I asked Jason about some ways we can do this.
“Travel … because it’s something new. Travel, art, certain drugs like cannabis [are] very effective for this. … ‘When you block all signals forwards and backwards you enter the flow of the present,’ in the words of Michael Pollan, ‘a present that is literally wonderful.’ Wonder being the byproduct of exactly that unencumbered first sight or virginal noticing.” – Jason Silva
So the key, according to Jason, is to deliberately experience something new. Going to a new place or experiencing something beautiful like a great piece of art can jog us out of our old thought patterns. That way, we can experience awe and wonder and our lives in the present.
Jason explained to me that one way can do this is by doing what he calls, “voluntary submission” or “voluntary killing of ego.” Basically, this means experiencing something close to death so that we can let go of our fear of death. This can be skydiving or bungee jumping or even a certain virtual reality experiences. Practicing for death can help us stop fearing potential danger. We can start to enjoy life more.
Okay, so let’s say you’ve followed Jason’s advice here. Maybe you take some time out to visit the nearest art museum, and you’ve taken in some beautiful art work. Maybe you’ve taken a trip to an unfamiliar place and spent some time enjoying the landscape or the culture there. Maybe you’ve even gone skydiving! And all that is awesome!
But you can’t do that all the time, right? You can’t spend every day touring museums and jumping out of planes and still expect to have any productivity in your life. You’ll do these things every once in a while, and then you come back to your normal routine. Life is a constant back and forth between those two things. And the real key, as Jason puts it, is that “you’ve got to constantly dance, learning to oscillate with that.”
After all, while it’s so important to stop worrying about all the bad things that might happen in the future, it’s also important to realize that the decisions we make today will affect our future selves.
Jason likes to think of this as a Venn diagram. So on one side you have a circle called “Discipline.” This is the side that represents your routine. It’s the part of your life that is oriented toward the future.
The other circle in the Venn diagram is called “Surrender.” This is the side that represents the things you do to disrupt your routine. You surrender to the chaos that can exist in the world and accept whatever might happen to you. Maybe you even come close to experiencing death, but even then you surrender to the awe and wonder of the moment.
Then in the middle of the Venn diagram, you have the part where the two circles intersect. Jason calls this part “Flow.”
“So, flow, for me, then, is that line between chaos and order … Flow is toeing that line.” – Jason Silva
So to truly be in a “flow” state of mind, we have to find the right balance. It’s important to find ways to experience the present moment. We have to try new things and have new and wonderful experiences, but we also have to make wise decisions that will set us up for the future we want.
Wonder and order; these things can exist together in our lives. And I think we’re living our best lives when we do the dance and keep those things in balance.
Jason Silva has got to be one of the most thoughtful guys I know. As a professional thinker and just as a human who enjoys collecting great ideas, he has a lot of great wisdom to share.
I only had time to talk about part of our great conversation here, but Jason and I also talked about everything from the way art and design can affect our happiness to his experiences sharing grief with a community.
Of course, you could check out Jason Silva’s podcast, Flow Sessions with Jason Silva, to hear more about his philosophy. But our conversation was truly something special, and I think you’ll get a lot out of listening to this episode.
Just listen to Jason’s definition of greatness:
“I think what makes us great at our best is the refusal to cower down in despair, to experience the terror, the doubt, the fear, the fatalism, and with all the agitation still get up and make something happen. It’s not easy being human … it’s not easy to conceive that everything you love and everyone you love will be taken away from you in time, and to still make a contribution … to do something worthwhile in the world, there’s nothing greater than that.” – Jason Silva
Are you ready to be inspired? Are you excited to find more wonder and experience more awe in your life? Then check out Episode 785 with Jason Silva, and prepare to have your mind opened up to something beautiful.
Lewis: This is episode number 785 with the inspirational Jason Silva. Welcome to the school of greatness my name is Lewis Howes, a former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today now let the class begin.
Jim Rohn said “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” And John F. Kennedy said “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” We’ve got my man Jason Silva in the house. I’m super excited about this one I’ve known Jason for a number of years. We’ve had him on the show a few years back but it’s been so long and so many episodes of come through now on iTunes it’s not even on the stream anymore. And there’s been so much that’s happening my life and his life, and what he’s been able to create the last 3+ years. I wanted to bring him on to really share some updating things and I was blown away. Every 5 minutes I was kind of in shock and awe of the things that Jason was saying. I believe that you’re gonna be doing the same.
To those who don’t know who Jason is, he is an inspirational television personality film-maker, futurist, philosopher, and public speaker all over the world. He’s known for hosting national geographic documentaries, brain games and origins. He’s goal is to use technology to excite people about philosophy and science.
In this interview we talked about discussing the biggest questions that everyone struggles with: Why are we here? How do we eliminate self-doubt and what is our purpose? We discussed flow and the best ways to get into this powerful state quicker so that you can maximize your potential at any point.
We talked about the power of service and focusing on helping others to bring happiness to your own life and also how social media has this constant comparison loop and how we can break free of this cycles. Make sure you share this with your friends’ lewishowes.com/785 tag myself or Jason Silva on Instagram over this interview so that we know whose listening and we can connect with you as well.
Before we dive in a big thank you to our sponsors who help us take the production to the next level and promote this podcast far and wide, and our sponsor today is zip recruiter. Now, for those who have small business or growing business you know that hiring is challenging, it is one of the most difficult things that I’ve gone through, and I’m looking for new people on my team and it’s always challenging process, but there’s one place you can go where hiring is simple fast and smart. A place where growing businesses connect to qualified candidates and that is ziprecruiter.com/greatness. Now, zip recruiter sends you job to over 100 of the webs leading job boards, but they don’t stop there with their powerful matching technology zip recruiter scans thousands of resumes to find people with the right experience and invites them to apply to your specific job. As applications starts rolling in zip recruiter analyzes each one and spotlights the top candidates so you never miss a great match. And right now my listeners can try zip recruiter for free, go to ziprecruiter.com/greatness. Zip recruiter the smartest way to hire.
And for those who have been hearing about the summit of greatness over the last 3 years, you’ve seen the world’s biggest speakers come to the stage, you’ve seen the world’s greatest athletes come leave workouts in the morning, you’ve seen the epic and life changing we throw the closing parties with Wyclef Jean last year that was mind blowing 3 and a half hours long. You’ve seen this things online you’ve seen me talked about it, you’ve seen thousands of people from around the world come to commute and be with a group of inspiring change makers, dream makers looking to take on the world with their mission and passion and really unlock their biggest potential.
If you haven’t got your ticket for this year there are seats still left. We haven’t announce the speakers yet and over half of the tickets sold without anyone knowing who is actually coming and speaking. I am so pumped about this. We got some big names that I am going to be announcing here in the future. Go to summitofgreatness.com get yourself a ticket. So many people by tickets for their family you got to come it’s a game changing, life changing experience. Go to summitofgreatness.com and I’ll see you at the summit of greatness September 5 to 7 guys.
All right guys I’m excited about this one Jason Silva has been inspiring millions and millions of people every single day and week with his inspirational videos online and now I’m bringing him to you at the school of greatness. Without further ado let’s dive in with the one and only Jason Silva.
Welcome back everyone to school of greatness we’ve got the legendary Jason Silva in the house.
Jason: What’s up bro?
Lewis: 3 years since you came here, you’ve grown a lot we’ve grown a lot it’s been so much fun.
Jason: Amazing to see you man.
Lewis: It’s amazing what happens when you just show up every week for 6 years in anything you do.
Jason: That’s right and if you do anything you love it doesn’t really feels like work right? You get caught up in something it feels like a mission, a vocalization.
Lewis: When we started this podcast I remember I was in a transition of my life. I want to figure out what’s the feeling I want to get in my life moving forward. I sold companies 7 figures that was fun but it wasn’t fulfilling. It was cool like we’re making some impact and making some money like my bank account is full but is my heart full? I remember asking myself the question what do I want to do that even if I never get paid I would love to do. And sitting down with people and asking questions became like my answer.
Jason: You know what that reminds me of actually, but you just spark this realization. There’s an organization called ‘the edge foundation’ edge.org, and they basically gathered these people to write these essays that answer big question about the human condition. But it’s really their logline I find very inspiring and I think it very much applies in what you’ve done in school of greatness and in many ways the way I try to curate my own life. To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, to gather the world’s most interesting minds, to put them together in a room and to have them ask each other the questions they’ve been asking themselves.
Lewis: Wow. That’s what I do.
Jason: This notion of like curating these people whose lives inspire you, who has done things in the world that resonate you, and then to be in front of them and to have them ask each other the questions that we’ve been asking ourselves. I think the essence of a true is you sit down and you say “So, what have you been asking yourself lately?”
I’m in my mid-30 now. I just turned 37 I’m 82.
Lewis: So, you’re 37 what are the questions you’ve been asking yourself?
Jason: So, I guess the question is kind of cliché but it’s the question that we, I think the human condition is define by it which is what are we meant to do ourselves in response to our unique situation. Our unique situation is characterize by this expanded awareness, this amount of self-consciousness that we have that we can think about our own thinking and that we can contemplate the infinite. All these things that exceed our boundedness, and yet simultaneously we feel very finite and very contained by our mortal bodies.
For me, I am still trying to make sense of our situation or rather find some way to absolve our situation, and I don’t know if we talked about 3 years ago, but this is a book that you’ll start turning into more and more as the years keeps passing by it’s a book called ‘Denial of Death.’ The key idea is that we have, you know man has an inner symbolic life interiority, and that signifies a certain kind of freedom because we can imagine impossibly large things with this interior symbolic life. Our interior symbolic life can fit mythologies that are this big. Every story that’s bigger than us and we can entertain this vastness within us. So, our inner symbolic self symbolizes or signifies a certain kind of freedom, and yet we also are aware that we have a bounded finite physical body which puts a limit on that freedom.
Lewis: Make urgency.
Jason: This feeling of bounded possibility infinite potential that we feel we have that is curtailed only by the notion that the clock is ticking.
Lewis: How do we extend life? I feel like we’re a 100 years away to 100 years shy to really extend it 100 years.
Jason: Double the human life. So like the progress has been astonishing, you know the rise of modern medicine, we’ve already made the average lifespan I think over 70. What we need to reach is something called escape velocity where we will be adding a year of life expectancy for every year that passes, and so when you get to that point. And there’s no doubt that is where we are heading, I mean the advances happening in sort of genetics and biotechnology will allow us to increasingly master the language of biology.
Lewis: Have we miss the mark though? Have we miss the time?
Jason: The big question mark is whether some of this I guess breakthroughs in our understanding and capacity to manipulate biology will sort fully flower and sort emerge application in time for us to benefit from those things. But until that happens all we can do is make sure that we commit ourselves to something every day that allows us freedom from self-consciousness. So something that feels so important and that we feel so committed to hear now and every day that we get out of bed every morning feeling like we’re slaying the dragon.
Jason: And we have no choice especially in the western world. So, it’s like if you can feed yourself and if you can pay your rent all of sudden basic sustenance is not the meaning of life anymore, the meaning of life
Lewis: Finding the meaning of life.
Jason: Exactly, figuring out becomes the purpose of the game. I ask myself and I remember when I was in college I doubled majored in film and philosophy and my romantic fantasies [?], I don’t know if you ever heard this term. So, the flanour is the walking philosopher and I’m not sure who came up with the term but it was use to describe but it was use to describe, I think it was Paris in the 20’s with all this artist hanging out in cafes and everybody was a painter or musician or filmmaker and all they were doing was just like contemplating what it means to be a person and making art about it.
Lewis: You’re doing it now?
Jason: Well that was my fantasy graduating college. I want to be like a poet but with like video and then I got caught up in the trappings of becoming and I got my first gig currently as a television presenter.
Jason: All those trappings so to speak and then in 2011 brain games blew up in a massive way. That’s like my version of save by the bell, so I will always be associated by brain games. So that was also like ‘woah Hollywood L.A.’ like that whole thing for a little while. All of those are wonderful things and I’m proud to be associated with I think contents that make people think about their cognition, their brain the way they perceive reality. But the larger question is what to do with our brains, what to do with our perceptions and our misperceptions something that still agitates me. And so being on the other side of a massively successful TV show and essentially tasting the thing that we supposedly associate completion and finality like you’ve made.
Lewis: How did that make you feel?
Jason: Well, it only made me realize that not all there is.
Lewis: Have you heard of Jim Carrey’s quote where like “I wish everyone becomes rich and famous so that they realize [?] Happiness does not come.”
Jason: 100% and I think the only aspect where I think it makes sense to want to have some kind of financial success is so you have, you don’t have to be burden by those lower levels of muscles higher needs, like it sucks to have to stress about rent, it suck to have to stress to pay the bill and way to many people are dealing with the struggle and that’s the problem. I think that’s one of the reasons I am so attracted to Scandinavian countries or places like the Netherlands, they are much more humanitarian people have much more life. The people there report higher life satisfaction than many other countries across the world. The happiest country in the world like Denmark, Netherlands. So, there are ways I think organizing our societies that people spend less time struggling economically and more time having free time for leisure and personal development or creativity.
I think that we make mistake in thinking that if we make a society that is like that then it will be done, because then new questions sort of are emerge from within that we are compelled to try to answer.
Lewis: Everything is taken care of.
Jason: And everything is fine and yet the clock is ticking. Even the feeling of satisfaction that you got from the moment of success where you finally overcame those hurdles.
Jason: Yeah. And so then what? And the big questions from the college dorms when you’re stone like come back. I think trying to answer that continues to fuel a lot of the work that I do with my digital content which we’ve seen some of it.
Lewis: It’s amazing. What do you think the question over the last 4,000 plus years is the most common question asked that we’ve never been able to answer?
Jason: I think it’s what happens after we die. I think that’s the one that you and me are trying to make a sense of, you know that I think there’s poetry and certain answers to that questions. I get very little assurance from that idea, I think what frightens me is the idea that there is nothing else, which again doesn’t get rid of the mystery of why we are here to begin with, because the richness of our interior experience our capacity to express our interiority the form of song and poetry and arts. I mean when I beat the whole beautiful piece of art, when I listen to the beautiful melody I become the melody, I become the artist I share this objective experience of that soul that somehow concocted or architected that piece of art. So, I feel like there’s something within us that feels divine, that is divine you know Jordan Peterson famously says he talks about that example about why you need art in your life and he’s talking about people like a museum or staring at renaissance painting and he’s like “Why are they staring at that? They don’t understand what that is.” And then he says that the reason people are staring at this painting is because implicitly they recognize something that transcended shines through the frame. So they don’t know what they are looking at but they know that what they’re looking at is divine in some way. Have you heard of the phrase [?] syndrome?
Jason: So [?] syndrome is basically what happens when an aesthetic experience, a spiritual experience is overwhelming to the sense that you could collapse and have like heart palpitation and this will happen to like really religious people when they go to like.
Lewis: The church.
Jason: Yeah, the Sistine chapel in Rome or whatever. Finally they see that statue or that painting and they collapse, like there’s something over there than will knock you off your face and throw you to the floor. It’s better to be because of beauty than because you’re getting a stroke or a heart attack. The thing about Jordan Peterson it’s like we don’t have to necessarily understand art know that it hints at unseen realm of the human heart, and I don’t know what that means that we survive past our death but I know that it makes me want us to. When I look even at the cosmos at night sometimes, especially from a place with no light pollution you know I can’t help but get caught up in wanting to know ‘is there some kind of unseen order here?’ And I don’t know if it looks like a God with a beard but is there something men? Is there an explanation? Is there an equation? Is there a designer behind a design? And granted scientist tell us no, but something in the human heart I think finds it difficult to recoil with the idea that there is nothing.
Lewis: What do you think is the biggest fear then for most people? Is it that none of this is gonna matter because I don’t know what’s happening after I’m gone.
Jason: Well, I think the fear is uncertainty. I think that’s the reason why there is a billion dollar industry now teaching people how to become more present and the irony is if we would have been able to live in the present 100,000 years ago we would have gotten eaten by the lion that we didn’t see coming.
Jason: So like living in the present is not evolutionary advantageous. You know what’s advantageous is the fact that we can imagine future scenarios and the reason we have memory and Jordan Peterson talks about this, is not so we can relish about past times is so that we can learn from things that happen in the past that makes infringes about what’s gonna happen in the future.
Lewis: Not get eaten when you watch your friend get eaten.
Jason: So, then what happens is mitigating against future risk was biologically selected for, those who did that bred more widely. And so we have inherited that brilliant neurosis of foreshadowing future danger and mitigating against it. The problem is once we’ve made the world safe we still are like a hamster in a hamster wheel or like a dog humping another dog in heat and then you like pull the female away and the male is still humping. So, ironically we’ve gotten into a time where now some of the hardware that has serve us so well is now problematic and there’s this desire to return to kind of capacity to be here now and actually like neuter our foreshadowing capacity in our relishing memory, to block the signals forward and backwards. In fact, in mental health now there is a renaissance, all of these techniques are teaching us to neutralize our wiring to think about the future.
Michael Pollin’s new book ‘How to change your mind’ the best-selling book that just was about.
Lewis: I want to see this.
Jason: Wonderful book and you should definitely have it. In the first few pages of the book he describes our modern [?], he basically says that human beings are like an artificial intelligence program. We’ve taken data from the present, we compared that data with data from the past and we use that then to make predictions about the future. And that’s what we’re always doing automatically all the time. In fact, a lot of the time we dispends with the present data altogether and just leapfrog to the conclusion. So, we’re living in this perpetual been there and seen that of the ultimate mind also known as the jaded mist. So, you’re not even there you’re like grabbing a look at your phone or you’re either moving later, we’re just never present we leapfrog to the conclusion because our brain is so effective at saying ‘I know what this is’ and making predictions about the future, and if the future is not dangerous we’re not even paying attention to what’s happening right now. So, we live with this kind of perpetual low level hum of anxiety or like having a crooked back or like future tense all the time. And maybe that makes you a good businessman or a good planner, but unless you’re like an architect and you’re like planning the structure you’re gonna build like the incapacity to enjoy the smell of flowers is problematic and is sort of one of the main features of mental distress. So then he says what are some of the solutions? What are some of the ways that we can neuter our compulsion to constantly leapfrog to the future and leave the present? Travel.
Lewis: Why travel?
Jason: Because it is something new.
Lewis Experience something new like the first time.
Jason: That’s right. Experiences that violate your expectations. So that’s another thing that is good to keep in mind. So, travel, art, certain kind of drugs like cannabis is very effective for this. What these things do is they block all signals forwards and backwards automatically. It’s hard to know what’s about to happen when you’re in a place that’s completely new.
Lewis: Living in shock. It’s like living in the wonder. And that’s why I think being a child who’s always curious is the way to feel fulfilled and happiness and joy, because you’re just like always in the wonder of what is happening, why is this happening?
Jason: And it also answers this dilemma of our existential conundrum about what to do about death, because it’s not even that we’re afraid of dying tomorrow we’re afraid of dying in 30 years. What happens is you block all signals forwards and backwards. When you block all signals forwards and backwards you enter the flow of the present in the words of Michael Pollin, a present that is literally wonderful. Wonder being the byproduct of exactly that unencumbered first sight or virginal noticing.
Jason: Which the adult brain has closed itself. So, you’re obliterating the adult capacity to foreshadow everything and you’re returning to a more virginal state of heighten appreciation for what’s unfolding in real time, and that seems to be the answer to our Ills, because when we have those experiences we have awe, and awe is an experience to something such perceptual expansion in the moment that all your mental models about what this is are fucking obliterated, and when they’re obliterated you have to make room for new assimilation. It turns out that even though these are transitory experiences they leave afterglows, that’s why when people take magic mushrooms and have mystical experience or when they go to the Grand Canyon or they see their child be born they left with this for weeks, months or sometimes even years afterwards of increase well-being, increase compassion for other people.
So, perhaps I’m answering my own question here but perhaps the answer to the existential agitation of what to do with ourselves in the face of death is simply to stop and smell the roses, to learn to steward the contents of consciousness to the here now. To hack ourselves by learning to block all signals forwards and backwards by exposing ourselves to great art, to travel, to do things new and different, and to not get caught up in routine or patterns of thinking because too many patterns in our thinking. What we need is to shake the snow globe. And so what shakes the snow globe? Well, put you on a plane right now and drop you on Botswana in a back of a safari truck.
Lewis: I love that story.
Jason: Before you know it you’re hurled back into the flow of the now.
Lewis: Essentially you are saying this because it is a paradox, because we need routines and rituals to create productiveness in our life. If you’re always doing something new. So there’s a paradox of routine of rituals every morning day and night but also the newness of life that brings you joy and wonderfulness.
Jason: So you’ve got to constantly dance, learning to oscillate with that.
Lewis: It’s like ritual routine for 6 weeks, but then when you feel a little itchy and scratchy it’s like do something unexpected or every night do something unexpected, you know maybe do something little dance.
Jason: That’s beautifully put. I keep coming back to Jordan Peterson because he’s so fucking brilliant. One of the things that I also love is that he’s saying “You have to do things to take care of yourself today. But you also have to take into account the wellbeing of your future self because your future self is gonna be you very soon.
Lewis: The decisions you make today will affect your future self.
Jason: Actually this is one of his best videos. So he was like how to deal with existential crisis? First of all like find a passion or orientation that takes care of you today, but also doesn’t alienate the people that you love around you. You have to take into account something that gets you off but also alienate you and doesn’t hurt other people. So if like the answer to all your problems today is to do heroine and smoke cigarettes that’s not a favor to your future self, so that’s not gonna work and it will also make your friends and family worry about you. But perhaps the answer to your problems today is to learn to work abroad and figure out a situation where you can work remotely, develop a routine where in the mornings you work out and drink coffee and do your work for 4 or 5 hours and every afternoon you commit to do a different hike or to do a different kind of hobby. I guess if you can manage all of those things, if you have the capacity for discipline and for surrender, actually you see a Venn diagram.
Lewis: Something, nothing, and mystery.
Jason: So I have a very similar one instead it goes discipline, surrender, and they overlap and flow. So, flow for me then is that line between chaos and order, because order is discipline; chaos is surrender. Flow is towing that line.
Lewis: With the structure and.
Jason: They bounded and bring it back into tangible form, they articulate it and make expense of it. I think that’s something that we can sort of apply to our lives because we need that balance, it’s kind of cliché to say that. There’s a guy called Robin Harris in the imperial college of London who’s been doing some studies on how psychedelics tend to alleviate anxiety and depression that has not responded to conventional medications, and he came up with a theory to account for why there are so effective at doing this and it’s called ‘the entropic brain theory.’ But basically the idea is that the brain has a certain kind of order and coherence and it turns out that either through trauma or things that have happened in your past that have jolted your nervous system in a way that cause a permanent agitation can lead to the symptoms PDSD or anxiety depression. All of those are directly response to a brain that has gone hyper vigilant or an ego that has gone hyper vigilant because it has experience this threat.
Lewis: So it’s always on guard?
Jason: Yeah always stress. So, basically when they did MRI scans for the brain of these people that suffer from these diseases they found the default mode network which is the part of the brain that sorts of govern [?], what they call the ego construct has become a tyrant is a great metaphor to describe it. So the ego is necessary, I mean the ego gets you out bed in the morning, I mean when we need some ego in our lives but when the ego metastasizes into a despot, into authoritarian it’s no longer like an elected president but a dictator and it’s super paranoid that everybody is against it that the brain has become too ordered. And those are the diseases of depression and anxiety and excessive rumination and looping thoughts.
Jason: But again on the other stream is too much chaos.
Lewis: Too much freedom.
Jason: Too much discipline you’re a martyr and you’re slave, and too much disorder well you’re like a crazy hippie artist living on the street who can’t monetize to save his life and like to get his shit together. So can you have both? Can you be creative and erotic? Can you be free and discipline?
Lewis: Like Steve Jobs you know he was kind of both and he build one of the most influential brands of our generations, arguably that he was maybe a little too chaotic at times but he was able to be smart enough to have a team and structure to like he can push the boundaries all the time of crazy chaotic thinking demands, but also monetize it too.
Jason: He was brilliant and he always talks about the importance of being a polymath. When he was in college he took a class that was calligraphy class and all that stuff.
Lewis: Jack of all trades. It’s kind of been my life. I was like I’m never gonna be an all-American to reach the top of any one event, I just wasn’t talented enough. I didn’t have the gift of like specialty to be great at one thing, I wasn’t fast enough to win the 100 I wasn’t good enough like a distance, but if you put the events together I can kind of get really dangerous at all 10 to where I can be good at 10 things as 1, that’s kind of been my life like I’m not really brilliant at any one thing but you can try a lot different things. It is where the Robert Green talks about he said ‘his life was really good at a lot of different writing styles but never great at script writing, never great at novels but he tried them all until he found like this uniqueness of these type of book that kind of encompass all of it and that made it great.’
Jason: That’s beautiful.
Lewis: I’m curious about your fears in the last 7 years in your 30’s, you had great probably all your training in your life has culminated to be successful in your 30’s. While you’ve achieved probably the greatest social successes of your life the last 8 years, what’s been the biggest fear you’ve face during all of it at the same time?
Jason: I mean I think it just goes back to kind of struggling with enjoying the moment as it’s unfolding.
Lewis: That’s been your challenge?
Jason: Yeah, because I guess the same discipline with which I plotted course and the work-ethic and planning for tomorrow and looking out for my future self that also can metastasize into an ability to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Lewis: You always thinking about the next.
Jason: That’s right the more distance between me and my last like cathartic piece of work there is the less I receive a compliment. So, if I was into loom like 2 weeks ago and I took my sort of partner of crime for a lot of this content.
Lewis: Relationship partner or business partner?
Jason: No, wonderful DP. My videos profound reflections of poetic reverie. So, when I’m fresh from those spaces like when I make time for it when I can go there and when something comes through, like at least I can come out of that experience and be like “Okay, I feel absolve.” And also it’s cathartic, I contend with the unknown and I brought something wonderful and coherent to share with the world. And then for like the next week or 2 I’m like in this natural bliss out high, everything was awesome, and then when I received the positive feedback. When I’m fresh from a shoot I can receive that because I feel connected to the person that produce that work. I’m fulfilled and you’re fulfilled from it great, but if it’s been a couple of weeks that I haven’t gone there and then all my new roses starts coming back, and all those restlessness starts coming back and all that second guessing. All the lessons that I learned in my last video that I then develop amnesia for a couple of weeks later.
Lewis: Or the videos from a year ago.
Jason: That’s right. Then when I get stop and somebody said ‘I love you work’ then I kind of recoil like a nervous artist. I feel like one of those best-selling authors that have written one book, they struggled and the self-loathing and the doubt and finally writes something and becomes a huge hit. That feeling emerges when there’s too much temporal distance between me and my last work.
Lewis: How do you think we eliminate self-doubt?
Jason: I don’t know if we eliminate it, I think that we develop a different relationship with it because again, I mean we should feel privilege to have one great idea in our lives.
Lewis: But why do we doubt ourselves?
Jason: Well, I think it’s because when you’re doing what you love that fills your holes, you know that makes you feel whole, and then when what you love impacts the world that also makes you feel whole. But everything is a transitory moment.
So, yesterday I was doing what I love and then yesterday I got validation for it, but then what have I done today? Like every day is a new day like I don’t know that I can ever rest on my [?] in any way that I would be being honest to myself. Like if I were to come here and say everything is great, that’s bullshit.
Lewis: 5 years ago.
Jason: Like everything is not great because of what we’ve achieve like we can’t make every day significant then the day is wasted. A movie about two people who meet on a train in Europe and spend the day together and fall in love and the whole time they’re together they’re talking about how fleeting this moment is.
Lewis: Gone so soon.
Jason: Yeah, and it’s gonna end.
Lewis: How do you hold on to it and extend the moments?
Jason: And at the end of the film it’s Don and he recites a poem by [?] it goes “All the clocks in the city began to work and chime or let not time deceive you. You cannot conquer time and headaches and worries [?] and time will have its fancy tomorrow or today.” And so it’s like, I think for me it’s like well yesterday I was able to evoke a poetic reverie, I was able to create something beautiful, and I was able to hopefully touch someone else and make their life a little bit better. So that takes all of the boxes, I had [?], I had catharses, and then I had the feeling of communion with others who are affected by my work. That filled me to the brim, but something that Jamie Will from [?] projects says is that our self-system are fundamentally like leaky buckets. So we can keep filling that leaky bucket with like the art we do, and people we love and things we created in the world that, we fill that bucket with purpose every single day. But then we go to sleep and just a few days later it’s just leaking from the bottom.
Lewis: So we can never trap the bucket?
Jason: I think masters are people that are able to upgrade their self-system from leaky buckets.
Lewis: The way they think?
Jason: As maybe through meditation, transcendence or maybe through technique. The key thing that Jaimie Wheel says is we could change our self-systems from leaky buckets into chalices, then not only can we render ourselves whole, but we can render ourselves wholly. I think creating arts that shifts our mind states, men tend to give people a different perspective in a high that last for 6 months after the event, just knowing that human beings are capable of creating something so magnificent together just uplift the human spirit and makes you feel fundamentally less isolated and more connected to fellow men.
Jason: That’s our responsibility.
Lewis: If someone came to you and said ‘I’m just constantly doubting myself, I’ve gone after everything in my life and I’ve achieved so many great things. But I never feel enough.’ If someone is achieving everything but it’s like ‘oh I just sold this ton of million Dollar Company but now what do I do?’ How would you say is the best way to overcome self-doubt?
Jason: You know what I think one of the best ways to crack ourselves open from the curse of self-obsession is that South African saying ‘ubuntu’ because I am and you are. I find that moments of like radical and sudden empathy or radical and sudden compassion immediately dissipate all those knowing thoughts of like self-doubts and self-loathing and just desire, they’re obliterated by this immediate communion with another being. People who work in volunteer or service especially when it’s the kind of service where you have direct encounter with the people you’re helping. So, it’s not just like writing a check.
Lewis: A beautiful office.
Jason: That might help for some but like it’s when you see the people that you affect. But it’s really I feel better from one person who I have a 5 minute conversation on the street who tells me that they were depress and then they saw something I did. What happens in the helper’s eyes is actually it’s not even that you have time to think about ‘Oh my God I feel so much better.’ No, it’s actually the compassion that you feel for a person suffering and some part of you that realizes that you were able to alleviate that suffering. So it’s not like pity or it’s like you feel bad for them but you can’t do anything, it’s realizing that like ‘Oh I’ve made a difference.’ And there’s something freeing in that moment from the [?] of self-obsessions. So maybe that’s what I would tell people “Find a way of having direct encounters with people that you can serve.”
Lewis: Stop focusing on your ego which you don’t have and start helping other people.
Jason: Easier said than done.
Lewis: Much easier said than done.
Jason: And it’s the kind of experience that I would say cannot be described. So, there’s 2 forms of knowledge: there is knowledge by description and there’s knowledge by acquaintance. So, I could tell you, I could be really poetic and tell you what it feels like to be next to another human and help them out and have the compassion and connection and the empathy of realizing I am because you are, like we are all one. That is knowledge by description.
Knowledge by acquaintance is you having the felt experience of that. Like undergoing the experience for yourself. People describe psychedelics the same way, they could tell a depress person that there’s a different way to plant their feet. A depress person their lenses of perception have limited and constrain their world view, they have a failure of imagination.
The failure of the imagination means that the system by which you can imagine different life for yourself is broken in a depress person.
Lewis: How do expand our imagination?
Jason: So you have these lenses of perception and you have mistaken those perceptions for reality, your brain is always filling in the blanks.
Lewis: It’s like inception.
Jason: Right. You see with your lenses and through your lenses but you don’t see the lenses themselves, therefore if the lenses aren’t serving you but you’re not aware that you have those lenses you think what you see is reality.
Lewis: Everyone is out to get you.
Jason: You don’t see that your lenses are coloring your reality. So, therefore knowledge by description won’t help these people, like you could them about all the ways their life can be better they can’t hear. But there’s experiences that knowledge by acquaintance take that depress person tie them over a rope and throw them over a bridge in a bungee jump thing. Once you make them stand over here metaphorically and physically, now they can see where they were standing before, but until you pick them up and put them in that other place there is no way you could tell them a million description or reasons why there’s another place from which [?] not until they physically are planting them. So, you become aware that you’re a possessor of the lenses of perception and then you can go disperse those lenses of perception. That is what I think the future of mental health and that is how we heal.
Lewis: That’s true. I think Tony Robbins says something around the line of ‘trade your expectation for appreciation and you’ll live a completely different life.’ Change the lens but also see like someone who has less, go something. It’s a simple of exercise, gratitude, and appreciation so simple and maybe it’s too dumb down.
Jason: No it’s not
Lewis: Every time I focus on what I’m appreciative it’s like my ego starts to fade away, I start to tap into a deeper sense of pure love as opposed to anxiety and scarcity, in the sense of abundance pours through my soul and you stop thinking about the ego and what you’re lacking and start focusing on what you have and appreciate.
Jason: But then the part that I think can be tricky for that is that if people have had, especially material success they build a bubble around themselves and they’re a [?] existence where their social media is reinforcing their own belief systems and feeding their comparison with other people, they’re hanging out with people that are too like-minded to maybe or not challenging them and reinforcing certain thought patterns. But then you could tell yourself to be more appreciative until you go to lunch with your friends and these things. I mean we all get caught up in that trapping.
Lewis: Comparison is thief of joy.
Lewis: I think Einstein said that comparison is thief of joy. It’s like comparing to your friend circle and family circle or to the social media followers. Like you can compare all day long and it can rob you of joy.
Jason: And the Buddha said “Do not compare yourself to others or you will become vain and bitter.” By the way even a self-proclaim enlighten being can be caught up in that. I’ve had moments where I tasted a vision of such sort inspiring proportion. But I know how wrong I was when I find myself thinking ‘am I having as much success?’ and then it’s like how quickly you can throw yourself off on a pedestal.
Jason: But then the problem is not, that’s the thing you don’t want either. You don’t want to put yourself on a pedestal that’s too high where your self-love makes you blind to the suffering of others, but then you also don’t want to compare to others and throw yourself under the bus to think that you’re a worthless piece of shit.
Lewis: It all comes back to like order in the middle. How do we stop comparing ourselves when social media is in our faces every day?
Jason: Well, you tend to only really compare yourself to people who are similar enough to you that their success somehow means your lack. You might compare yourself to other people who do video podcast and who have thought leaders on their show. And you might think that their success somehow minimizes your success. The 10 million people that watched them somehow made the 2 million people that watched your episode count less than. One of those people in the street, you’ll see that touching one person is enough to make your day better.
Lewis: Huge game changer.
Jason: One person.
Lewis: You should be making work to impact one person, not to be like to change the world.
Jason: That happens a lot to actors. You know you see these movie stars and like “They’re so cool and famous they make such beautiful.”
Lewis: 40 something.
Jason: I’ve seen interview I think it was with Ethan Hawke who I adore. He was talking about how he’s done a movie and getting the best reviews in his career and he was very honest “You can have 99 amazing reviews but there’s that one review that is bad.” So, again it can play with us both ways, one person that tells us something nice can make your day but one person that tells us something negative can ruin our day.
Lewis: Ruin your year if you focus on.
Jason: Human beings we’re so sensitive. I’ve always asked myself the question “Why is it that a great day we’re sad that it’s gonna end too soon? And a bad day we’re sad it’s never gonna end.”
Lewis: Thinking of a great day like “I wish this would last for so long” but holding on to it. What’s the thing that holds us back the most? What holds us back from our greatness?
Lewis: Fear of what?
Jason: Well, I think all those fears are rooted in the fear of death. And there’s a theory called the terror management theory and it comes from Ernest Becker’s work ‘the denial of death.’ And these psychologist have these studies basically say ‘If you remind people of their mortality even subliminally they tend to become more judgmental of the other more sort of hostile to people that are different from them.’
Lewis: When you remind people of mortality?
Jason: Yeah, and that’s why populous politicians he uses fear to get people to hate the other.
Lewis: Isn’t the country called Bhutan 5 times a day they focus on their death. They pray and acknowledge their death and in that thought process they are the happiest country or culture in the world because they are always focus on like being present and joyful of what we have because one day this will all end.
Jason: Well, I guess its acceptance and they’re not clinging and by not clinging they suffer less.
Lewis: There’s an app called wecroke and it texts 5 times a day ‘you’re gonna die.’
Jason: It text you 5 times a day?
Lewis: It’s like I have a notification on my phone that comes up. It allows you to say none of this is gonna matter one day.
Jason: Yeah but that would make me. That is helpful until it’s not because doesn’t that also make you more anxious? I have a very strange relationship with attachment because I know that attachment bring suffering but I also know that love and passion and drive is fueled by an attachment to an idea, an attachment to moment.
Lewis: An obsession.
Jason: Obsession the artistic temperament is drooled by unruly emotions.
Lewis: It’s being committed and unattached. It’s like how do you become committed to the dream, the desire and outcome of being unattached how it happens, the mechanism of how it happens. It’s more about the journey it’s loving the process of trying to get there, whether it happens or not is actually irrelevant, but you learn about the beauty of life in that 10 years span or 5 years span of trying to create it. So the [?] management goes back to what again?
Jason: If you remind people of their mortality than subliminally they will be much more hostile towards other groups that people who are different than them. It’s very scary because it shows us that there is a relationship with out mortality that goes underneath our self-awareness and our self-consciousness that’s just this brain thing and it can be exploited by politicians, and it can be exploited by social media.
Lewis: Well, you said the fear of death is like what you’re talking about here and that’s the thing that holds us back the most is having this fear of death?
Jason: Well, I think just having fear paralyze us and keep us from doing what we must do, like I did a video recently about the utility or the healing power of death practices.
Lewis: Of like putting yourself in the grave.
Jason: Having psychological death experiences. So I’m not saying for people to kill themselves, suicide is tragic but talking about experience of psychological death, like voluntary killing of the ego which is very different than involuntary killing of the ego. Involuntary killing of the ego is somebody stabs you in the back when you’re not looking or the love of your life betrays you by cheating or something. Voluntary submission/voluntary killing of ego might be ‘I’m gonna jump of a plane. I’m gonna go sky diving.’
Lewis: Bungee jumping.
Jason: Yeah bungee jumping. It seems to me that this contained and compress psychological experience that allows to put ourselves to the side, to die to who we where you know we must let go of the life we planned so that we can live the life that is waiting for us. I feel like that is definitely true, for me it has been true temporarily. So, I have found cures to my distress at least for weeks at a time through the psychological death practices. I find that the right cannabis can allow you to inhabit a space outside your normal minded focus and self-obsessions space, and there can be something really therapeutic about planting your feet in a different space. All of that is very healing because it is a kind of death practice. It is a death to your ego at least a little bit its death to your neurosis.
So, maybe we can design we’re in the experience economy after all. You know maybe we should encourage our friends at summit series to design and integrate into their summits these kinds of well-prepared death practice. I remember in high school we went on this survival leadership workshops and one of the things they use to do is blindfold us and have like somebody else guide us through the forest and have to like get us back.
Lewis: To surrender.
Jason: And all those kind of experiments that allows us to face our fears, I mean it sounds cliché but it makes a lot of sense.
Lewis: You doing stuff on virtual reality too?
Jason: I played with it and done some videos on it but I definitely you know listening to this doctor, well he’s working in a hospital in the VR department and he’s saying like VR is the new syringe, you know it gives us direct access to the mind. One of my favorite tools or machines for experiencing empathy which is also a death to the self a little bit, but it’s funny because as soon as you care for somebody else you cease to exist and you cease to matter and the other person’s welfare becomes your welfare in the sense of expands.
Cinema was once called the machine for empathy because it shows you what it’s like to be another person to step into another person’s shoes. Now, a lot of movies today are really cheesy and tacky but cinemas as an art form is a way of sculpting and time, it really was an opportunity to step into someone’s shoes and if we would use it in that way more I think that’s something else that we can religiously put into our daily death practice or weekly death practice. Maybe in the future we combine these cinemas and we treat them more like temple and churches, maybe you arrive in the cinema and they have sense and you have to take your shoes off and you have to make a little like offering to the poster, and then maybe they have like a little cannabis vape pen and this kind of makes you more open and suggestible, it makes you more hypnotic trans of the fil. So, you have a little cannabis and you know they take away your cellphone and leave them in a locker so you don’t even have the opportunity to turn them on during the movie, and then you go and the films have been selected by a curated group of academics, philosophers and thinkers and cinemas as therapist.
With that kind of presentation and set up and even having the cannabis, the context and everything set up ritualistically and ceremoniously I feel like a film like inception, a film like interstellar. You know these films could be literally like soul medicine.
Lewis: Ritual cinema yeah exactly. I’m curious about what it’s like being in a relationship with you? The committed, intimate relationship and how do you find joy staying in a committed relationship when novelty wears off? When the wonder of the newness of the experience of the magical love in the first year, 2 years or whatever it is starts to fade because you’re in the same routine.
Jason: Well, I think helps to have an understanding of your neurochemistry. So, there is something called hedonic adaptation, which simply means the best chocolate cake you’ve had in your life if you had it every day of the week, by the 7th day it literally taste like shit. But if you have it once every other week it’ll taste deliciously every time you have it. Well, maybe we need to call into question our romantic relationship, maybe you guys each keep your own apartment instead of buying a home together, maybe you do rituals and sacraments together that heighten perceptions that make you see that more clearly. Blake was the poet who wrote that famous line that I think I’ve repeated in every one of my videos, but it’s something I aspire to. This is what I want like to see the world in a grain of sand, to hold infinity in the palm of our hand. Like if we could do that we’d be Gods, and maybe that’s enlightenment is to see the infinity in every moment in every person, to see the mystery in a person that’d been lying next to you for 3 to 4 years. But I think having an awareness of how our minds work, an awareness of how spaces and context situations trigger us, an awareness with habit and routine, and then just design for more fulfillment.
I actually think it’s, we’re talking ultimately about a design challenge everything. Can we design for fulfilment? Can we design for happiness? Can we design for purpose? Architects understand that cognitive impact of built environments, you know like it’s a big thing and there was this article in the New York Magazine called ‘The Psychological Impact of Boring Buildings.’ And it was saying how like certain buildings design and certain utilitarian ways rather than ways that are conducive to human flourishing.
Jason: Yeah, too much engineering not enough psychology. All about efficiency and nothing has to do with human flourishing can actually make people depress. You can design for human flourishment, you can design for human creativity. So, I think its city planners could design for that, I know that in aviation the dream line or aircraft was the first aircraft interior design in combination with psychologist to make it feel more comfortable, to make seats space in a way that is just outside of making you feel claustrophobic.
Jason: But this is a huge thing because everything we design in the world, and this is a city you could also do amazing things is designing right back. And we don’t normally think of that circular relationship. It’s a feedback loop, what are you actually doing? Well, you’re designing is the way that is gonna design you right back. What you design has a script and in that script broadcasted in your direction whenever you decide that dwelling or that design.
This chair is designing my comfort level which is informing the thoughts that naturally emerge in this conversation. This chair was like leaning forward than I it was like uncomfortable back rest I wouldn’t be as lose.
Jason: You know all those things are affecting, and so maybe what we need to do is deploy architects and psychologist and designers to work together to think of the design of the world as the design of the mind. And so we could design for better minds and maybe that’s gonna be like our next stage of development.
Lewis: That’s fascinating. So, how are you designing your relationship to make sure it flourishes?
Jason: Well, we’ve had the opportunity to do some travelling. I think one of my little shortcut hacks situation was when I really, when my speaking career took off in the middle of brain games. The opportunity to travel the world and talk to audiences which was like feeling a purpose, feeling inspiring to people. But then also having a business model that took me to different places and then I can stay longer, I am never gonna fly for 1 day and then fly again home.
Lewis: A week or 2.
Jason: Totally. I have speech in Cancun I’m going to Tulum. You know I have a speech in Iceland coming up in May, and I have a speech in Brazil in June so it’s like bring it on. So, I’m taking my girl to some of these journeys, if not now when? If not us who? Like let’s do this you know. I also think it bonds you together, the more strange the landscape that surrounds you the more it pushes you to this intersubjective space where you’re having a common experience. It’s like the 2 of you are next to each other but it’s a shared experience, so it expands the narrative level of us and that’s a very powerful thing.
Lewis: It deepens the relationship, it bounds the experience. What’s the question you think you’ll never going to answer?
Jason: You know I struggle with the whole concept of faith and belief. I came across this line reading that I really responded to said ‘collect ideas not beliefs.’ If you collect ideas it means that you’re like ‘Oh, that’s interesting and that is also interesting.’ And some of these contradict with each other but it is okay, because I don’t have to believe any of them I can just entertain their feasibility and find them interesting so I can find these different ideas. The problem with beliefs is that when you collect one belief.
Jason: Well, you knock off line any belief that contradicts that particular belief. So if you get too stuck with your beliefs you narrow your world view, and you also narrow your critical thinking.
Lewis: I’m not saying it’s right or wrong it is just what it is.
Jason: So if you ask me what question will I not be able to answer, I actually even though I struggle with beliefs precisely because I want to collect ideas, one belief that I desperately cling to, is that all questions will be answered. I’m like stubborn that way and everything will be found out in due time.
Lewis: What do you mean?
Jason: Like I will live to know everything. Like I want to pinwheel in deep time, I want to like witness the celestial event the cosmos, I want to be able to write in a starship one day. I am clinging to the possibility that all my sci-fi wet dreams will come true.
Lewis: Who do you think was the smartest person to live that have the best knowledge of most answers or most questions that they answered them somehow?
Jason: Joseph Campbell. He wrote the ‘hero with a thousand faces’ he’s the guy behind the mono myth idea that every story tells the same story, and I think the wisdom there is seeing a brilliant understanding of the difference between literal truth and metaphorical truth, between objective facts and poetic facts. Verner [?] famously he said “If all you want is facts by the phonebook it’s all of facts.” Full of facts but it doesn’t illuminate.
It’s important for people not to use what I’m saying, I’m not saying that facts aren’t important I don’t support the weaponization of fake news on social media, like we need objective scientific facts and consensus and architecture and physics and design to build things that work, we have to agree when light is green or red. But when it comes to interior experience when it comes to subjective experience when it comes to be what it’s like to be a person that’s very hard to describe from the inside. Description from the outside is easy, you’re a human being your heart beats at this many minutes per second, you have a nervous system, you have a brain, and you might have a chemical imbalance or not have a chemical imbalance these are all objective facts that describe accurately from the outside. Science describe accurately from the outside, poetry describes accurately from the inside.
So, when I speak of poetic facts or I speak of ecstatic truth I speak about the truth of mythology, I speak about the truth Joseph Campbell and Jordan Peterson talks about, I speak about the truth of the anguish and love that only a Beethoven melody can appropriately convey. You know sometimes art is the lie that reveals the truth. Sometimes fiction is more truthful than reality.
Joseph Campbell is very good at understanding that and so is Jordan Peterson. I remember he was talking with Sam Harrison, he was talking about astrology and Sam Harris of course was dissing astrology. And what he was saying is that astrology is not scientific like its superstition and doesn’t help us in any way. And Jordan Peterson’s answer is very interesting he’s saying “That well may be true that astrology is a fiction compared to astronomy.” But he basically said that astrology was astronomy in its earlier form and that what we did with astrology was drape the cosmos with our consciousness. You look up and we projected our minds onto that canvass and that North Star guided early sailors across the oceans, and they might as well be space faring explorers going into the unknown being guided by that North Star that might have called God. In that sense it’s still a healthy drive.
So, to have an understanding of the relationship with those 2 things that science and art I think it’s just very important, I think it can end up with a line that I just said that science describe accurately from the outside and poetry describes accurately from the inside. I think it was Ursula [?] who said that.
Lewis: What are you most excited about lately? What are you working on?
Jason: I’m excited about learning more and more trust.
Lewis: Trust what?
Jason: Taking more chances. My cousin Michael so he’s an entrepreneur and he used to work at Merrill Lynch and then found out to be soulless and then he quit and travelled the world for a year, went back to Venezuela fell in love with the love of his life, did a bunch of psychedelics, read a Richard Branson book and change his whole life, started a new business in Venezuela was successful for a few years. Venezuelan economy crash and burn, business crash and burn lost it all then move into California to get into the cannabis space and 5 years later he is the number 1 flower brand in California with a half billion dollar valuation. That guy has no fear. I often make self-deprecatingly will admit I’m really good at understanding ideas like really coming up with insights and really articulating those insights, not so good at putting them into practice. Whereas my cousin, he’s somebody that understands insights like that like illuminating beliefs, getting out of our own way and everything that we want is on the other side of fear taking the road less travelled by that will make all the difference.
He took the Tony Robbins course and read the Richard Branson book and he went and applied it and 4 years later he’s a tycoon in the cannabis space bringing a magical and medicinal herb to millions of people and in the process creating a company that is now valued at half a billion dollars.
So, I am inspired by his capacity to maybe feel the fear and do it anyway and I want to lean into that in my own life. There are a lot of things that I have overcome you know, stage fright being one of them. I’m timid and introverted and I get up on stage in front of thousands of people, I have overcome a lot of my fears kicking and screaming. I would like to overcome the rest of my fears with equanimity in a kind of [?].
Lewis: What’s the biggest fear that you have yet to overcome that if you could overcome it this year it would be a huge victory?
Jason: So 2 of them. 1 of them I’ve had a lot of financial success but I still live an attitude of scarcity. So, I am like a Jewish grandma, like my Jewish grandma who I love very much, but she grew up in the depression. And so even though my grandfather was very successful in Venezuela and she has a marvelous life of abundance she was always like she had that hyper vigilance of scarcity, like every penny like always worried about it. All the great things that have happened in my life was looking for them, all the great things from my life always happened in my zone doing my art doing my thing and the right thing showed up and all I did was seize it when I was there. And when I get stuck thinking, planning what’s the next thing I am out of my flow and it’s when literally I am not thinking about it and I’m just trusting that the thing has showed up and that I’ve seized it. So, I want to try to like infuse that attitude into how I feel about like financial stuff and just like stop worrying, you know just look at the fact. The facts are everything is great and just not live from a place of scarcity like my cousin in that sense. And then the other thing I would like to get over is I’m a bit like a hypochondriac.
Jason: I just want to like have a little more of like trust. I’ve take care of myself and I’ve always been healthy and not lose sleep over worrying about what if scenarios of the future. If I can let go of those 2 things and trust the abundance coming and trust in good health and good vibes I think I’ll be a much happier person.
Lewis: Less stress out.
Jason: And be able to take more chances without losing sleep over it. I went to burning man this year that was huge, have you been?
Lewis: I’ve never been called, it’s like you got to be called.
Jason: That is an experience I avoided for 7 years and my fear was like I won’t be able to sleep. I was able to sleep but I’ll tell you it’s even really about the parties it’s about witnessing what is created from scratch in a couple of weeks, witnessing the level of creativity that is like multiple slaps in the face. Probably the most profound element aside from riding your bicycle from a playground for a week and half and seeing so much art is the temple. So the temple is a non-denominational temple, people can come to grieve and to burn their grief. So, it’s full of sort of photos, handwritten letters, images of people who have lost people close to them. And so when you walk there not only are people going whack out costumes in all hours of the day, but they’re crying. Some people are crying on their own, some people are crying in groups strangers are hugging and crying. So it’s this communal place of grief and grief is so cathartic we avoid it like the plague, but man there’s few things that feels good as a good cry, especially when you allow yourself to cry in the presence of strangers and you realize they’re actually kind. And so the feeling of communion and shared grief which tells us again we don’t know how we got here, we don’t know why we’re here and we don’t know where we’re going. We’re like a moat of dust suspended in the sun beam in the words of Carl Sagan, but he also said that we are a way for the cosmos to know itself. And so let’s be brothers and sisters in light, let’s hold hands let’s cry you know and let’s say that we’ll be there for one another and that will have to be enough for now. That alone was worth the price of admission so I think you would actually love it.
Lewis: I’m sure.
Jason: You have a heart this big so no doubt that you will love it. Some people go like spend 2 grand, you have to spend like 10 grand. Just get a really nice RV and you can even pay someone to drive it for you, although the drive from Lake Tahoe is not bad man. 2 friends you really love, get a meal plan from one of the camps so that you don’t have to cook.
Lewis: There you go and just be fed and enjoy my life.
Jason: Electric bike and you will.
Lewis: This is called the 3 truths I think I asked you last time, but in case you forgot, imagine this is your last day as many years as you want it to be. You can extend your life as far as you go but one day you got to turn off the lights, and you’ve accomplished everything you want, you’ve live the dream life. But it’s the last day and you got to take everything with you, everything you created: thoughts, work of arts has to go with you. And you get to leave behind a piece of paper or something etch in stone that says ‘my 3 truths’ the 3 things you know to be true about all your experiences in life that you are then give as commandments to the world. This is all they have that remind you of your lessons, Jason Silva’s 3 truths what would you say?
Jason: First one would be niche. Those who are seen dancing who are called insane by those who could not hear the music that would be the first one.
Lewis: What does that mean?
Jason: It means don’t be afraid to be yourself and march to the beat of your own drummers and carve your own path, take the journey and be willing to be ridiculed the whole thing. Those who were seen dancing who are called insane by those who could not hear the music.
Number 2 the only people for me are the mad ones. The mad to live, the mad to talk, the mad to save desires of everything at the same time those who say young or a common place thing and burn, like yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars. That quote is about celebrating you’re crazy, celebrating your unique dance and way being. Do not compare yourself to others for you will become vain and bitter, embrace your contradictions you know. Be mad to live be mad to talk, you know want it all at the same time. It’s a celebration I think of that beautiful passion that characterize the human condition and it does come with a lot of suffering, but it is through overcoming that suffering that we might become whole.
Then number 3 flow bear. Human speeches but a crack kettle on which we tap good rhythms, while we long to make music that would melt the stars. And of course what that means is we maybe crude, we maybe fumbling stumbling monkeys you know doing our best. Trying to like render beauty and grant it. We’ve done pretty good man, but in the end like even when we talk like it’s still crude in terms of what we yearn to express our crude tools which is to make music that will melt the stars. And so we are made of stars like literally and so of course it makes sense that we were made by those stars and we want to return the favor.
Jason: And make those stars like weep and melt with our beauties. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.
Lewis: That’s great man. Well, I want to acknowledge you Jason for your childlike curiosity.
Lewis: Because every time I’m around you I watch videos of yours I feel this sense of curiosity and desire for reason and answers, but also creating a sense of certainty and peace in people’s hearts. I think a lot of people are suffering especially in the first worlds you know in our world, here in our country it’s like we may have seem like we have it all but we’re suffering inside more than everyone else is, and you bring a sense of peace and love to people’s hearts that are desperately needing through your art and through your childlike wonders. So, I acknowledge you for consistently showing up over the years and putting your art to the world and having that curious drive to help other people. So thank you for that.
Jason: Well, I want to acknowledge you man, I mean talk about showing up every day bringing in another inspiring individual and letting them shine. You know it takes a man a real man to bring it, talk about like before of not comparing yourself to others and avoiding the trappings the way other people have done it, and yet you actually created a stage to celebrate everyone else that’s doing their thing and in doing so you become the celebrated one in turn. It feels so honest and so authentic and so true that I can feel your heart, I can always feel your heart in all your content. It’s what I think shines through is just the earnestness the inquisitiveness and the realness of who you are. Anything is also helpful that you’re a man’s man look real alpha and it’s good for other alpha that are spending all their time like maybe they are being told to punch people.
Lewis; Like that’s.
Jason: Yeah dude.
Lewis: Final question is what’s your definition of greatness?
Jason: Definition of greatness: I think what makes us great at our best is the refusal to coward down in despair, to experience the terror, the doubt, the fear, the fatalism, and with all the agitation still get up and make something happen. It’s not easy being human being so it’s not easy being gifted with the self-consciousness that we are gifted, it’s not easy to conceive that everything you love and everyone you love will be taken away from you in time, and to see still make a contribution and to still be willing to contribute and to do something worthwhile in the world there’s nothing greater than that.
Lewis: There you guys have it I hope you enjoyed this episode with Jason Silva constantly shares these wisdoms bombs that will make unlock this feeling inside of yourself as a ‘yes, I need to start changing. I need to look at things differently, I need to change my perspective and open my mindset and open my belief system to see what’s more powerful in my life going in.
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And also make sure to sign up for your tickets at the summit of greatness, it is going to be incredible this year guys I am super pumped summitofgreatness.com get 5 tickets, 10 tickets whatever you got to do get your whole friends and family team there because it’s going to be a game changer. I’m going to be announcing speakers in the coming months but the early bird pricing is still available so get your tickets right now.
You have the potential to break free of everything that is holding you back. But it takes awareness, it takes insights, and it takes work to push yourself through the darkest places you never want to go to, so you can get out of the other side much lighter, pure, and really glowing with a bright light that inspires you and many others alongside people to inspire them as well.
Again as Jim Rohn said “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” And you have the ability to do that right now guys, you don’t have to wait to achieve something to be happy you can be happy right now, you can be love right now, you can be want right now, and that’s your opportunity.
So, I hope you enjoyed this episode I got a ton of value out of it, I hope you did as well. I love you all so very much and you know what time it is, it’s time to go out there and do something great.