Why We Love Sunsets & Sunrises (Beautiful New Video from Shots of Awe)

Source: Shots of Awe

“Attention, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement.” – Darwin

Jason Silva talks about why people love sunrises and sunsets in this stunningly beautiful 99-second video.

Join Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz. New episodes every Tuesday.

Why We Cry When We’re Happy – Shots of Awe

Source: Shots of Awe

“The moment we cry in a film is not when things are sad but when they turn out to be more beautiful than we expected them to be.” – Alain de Button

In this beautiful video, Jason Silva (Shots of Awe) explains why we cry when we’re happy.

Read more: Why Do We Cry When We’re Happy?

Will Increased Legalization of Marijuana Expand Our Consciousness?

Source: Shots of Awe

“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” – Carl Sagan

Jason Silva discusses the future of marijuana legalization including its potential for ushering in a transformation of consciousness.   (Also, see the video below in which Silva discusses the significance of marijuana legalization.)


We are definitely witnessing a phase change, a turning point in America’s relationship with cannabis sativa. That’s right the marijuana plant – a sacrament that’s been used for thousand years in all kinds of context: for promoting healing, for promoting transformation, for promoting spirituality. And, every day we’re learning a host of new benefits that are associated with the plant.

Now I think it’s kind of amazing, not just for the fact that this plant is non-toxic and has so many medicinal and therapeutic benefits, but also for the fact that as a sacred sacrament this raises the issue of cognitive liberty. The fact that as adults, if we’re not hurting anybody else we should have the right to explore the contours of our own consciousness without any mediation or legislation on the part of somebody else.

Prohibition, as Abraham Lincoln used to say, goes beyond the bounds of reason and attempts to legislate a man’s appetite by making a crime of things that are not crimes. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point.

But I think now the majority of Americans support marijuana legalization. We’re seeing more and more states embrace issue of cognitive freedom. And I think we’re going to see a transformation in consciousness. Not to mention that “marijuana is extraordinarily sensitive to initial rhetorical conditions.” It’s what Timothy Leary used to describe as “set and setting.”

So by changing the context, by changing the culture in which people partake in this visionary herb, you’re changing the very nature on the medicine effects.

Experiments in Colorado are raising the stage in which people enjoy their cannabis. We’re talking culinary experiences. We’re talking classical music venues and concerts. We’re talking special cinemas with vaporizing rooms where people can prime their brains for enhanced cinematic immersion.

It’s a new world. And it’s a world that’s going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Cognitive thrills await us that we cannot even imagine.


Well I think that what’s happening now is a transformational moment here in American culture. I think the fact that the majority of Americans now support marijuana legalization is a huge win for civilization, for mankind, I mean for American society. It’s like not just for the sort of limitless medicinal potential that cannabis has. You know cannabinoids have been shown now to even like shrink tumors. I mean it’s an unbelievably therapeutically active substance.

But also for the simple issue of cognitive liberty, right. Sort of a country that is founded on the principles of free thought and the idea that everybody should be able to think what they want to think and do what they want to do as long as they’re not hurting anybody else. And this is, you know, nowhere more exemplified than in the right to choose a marijuana joint over a martini if that’s what floats your boat.

Also, marijuana consciousness as Rich Doyle writes is extraordinarily sensitive to the initial rhetorical conditions. You know, Leary’s ubiquitous set and setting to the point that there is no drug by itself. There is the context in which the drug is taken. And so when you change the cultural context in which people are able to have marijuana you change the particular flavor of marijuana consciousness.

You start eliminating the association with criminality and the paranoia and the fear of getting caught and instead you create a canvas where people can smoke a joint before going to a boutique movie theater to have a very increased cinematic immersion. Or you can create spaces where people can maybe vaporize some cannabis before going and listening to a symphony orchestra. Or maybe they can go on these beautiful sort of guided marijuana hikes where the set and setting would be curated for a particular marijuana flavor.

I mean it’s almost like the notion being that intention, you know, you change the intention, you change the stage and that intention could actually transform the subjective experience that people have when they participate in the use of cannabis. And, you know, it’s just very exciting because I think that we’re going to see new forms of entertainment, new forms of sort of – new cultural spaces for people to partake in what they’ve been doing for hundreds of thousands of years which is altering our consciousness whether it’s through external technologies or internal technologies. I mean mindfulness, meditation, rave concerts, you know, Burning Man, theater. [transcript truncated]

Are Drugs a Tool For Spirituality? – Shots of Awe

Source: Shots of Awe

“The program is a voyage chart, a series of signals, which, like the pilot’s radio provides the basic orienting information required for the trip.” – Timothy Leary

There’s a fascinating organization called MAPS, Multi-disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. This is a nonprofit think tank that advocates for the responsible investigation of psychedelic plants and chemicals and exploring their potential as tools for transformation, for interpersonal transformation.

And this is a moment that we’re living in now. Right, we’re kind of living through a psychedelic renaissance where, all of a sudden, people are starting to take these tools, these cognitive technologies that have been used for thousands of years a little more seriously. We’re starting to take out the magnifying glass and stop being alarmist and actually paying attention and studying the potential of these tools, right?

So there’s a fascinating article written by Timothy Leary back in the ’60s called Programming the Psychedelic Experience. And the idea here was that if you could successfully pattern and sequence the input signals that the subject would receive when he was on a psychedelic odyssey, you could literally assure functional output. You could almost guarantee a functional catharsis, that there would be value to the psychedelic session.

And he described the psychedelic experience as a period of increased reactivity to stimuli, both from within and from without.  So you are immediately plunged into a dialogue with your own subconscious. Things start to erupt. Things start to emerge. New patterns start to be perceived. And at the same time, the world, becomes like a Sensurround system, the fidelity, the resolution of the input signals get boosted.

So all of a sudden, you are overwhelmed, almost eclipsed by the signals coming in. You are like a mind in flight. You are in orbital position. You are seeing the big picture. But if you don’t have navigation, if you don’t pattern those signals by carefully choosing beautiful music, by carefully curating excellent ecstatic poetry, reveries that you can read while you are tripping, controlling the environment, hanging around people whose company induces feelings of well-being, by patterning those signals, you’re authoring the song. The soul surfing that you’re actually doing.

The people that engage in these mystical states are known as psychonauts. They’re literally soul surfers investigating psyche through first person experience. And there’s all kinds of answers that we can find within. There’s all kinds of spaces that we can explore. The new space is inner space. And it’s fascinating.

We have to look deeper into this mystery. We need to explore these numinous realms, the archetypal realms from within. We need to go Carl Jung on our own brains using a cocktail of chemical technologies that will thrust the bodymind into liminal spaces of exploration.

We need to engineer inception-like dream spaces to explore. And the technologies are not all going to be external. Some of them are going to be internal. Computers are drugs but drugs are computers. This is the essence. This is why we should be open to this stuff because it’s absolutely fascinating.

Check out MAPS: Multi-disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

The Remix Revolution – How to Use Technology To Upgrade Our Minds

Source:Shots of Awe

Jason Silva talks about “The Remix Revolution” and how we can use technology to upgrade our minds in this episode of “Shots of Awe.”

“Everything is a remix” – Kirby Ferguson

Awe-Inspiring Video: How Our Creations Recreate Us

Source:Shots of Awe

Jason Silva’s most recent video on Ontological Design is a bit of a mind-bender that asks us to consider the way in which the things we create in turn re-creates us.  He talks about the ways our environment molds and shapes us; that everything we design is designing us back like Escher’s drawing of hands drawing each other in an eternal feedback loop.
Silva makes an important inquiry: How might we create better feedback loops between ourselves and that which we create so we can upgrade how we function? He doesn’t really answer the question. But the way he asks it makes this video a creation that does indeed affect us, instilling a sense of reverence and awe.

Conquering Our Fear Of Death

Shots of Awe | Jason Silva

Man has “a mind that soars out to speculate about atoms and infinity, who can place himself imaginatively at a point in space and contemplate bemusedly his own planet. This immense expansion, this dexterity, this ethereality, this self-consciousness gives to man literally the status of a small god in nature…Yet, at the same time… man is a worm and food for worms.”

– Ernest Becker

Mirroring Gods

Shots of Awe

Jason Silva muses on humanity’s relationship with Gods and the actualisation of our potential.

“Long ago man formed an ideal conception of omnipotence and omniscience which he embodied in his gods. Whatever seemed unattainable to his desires – or forbidden to him – he attributed to these gods… Now he has himself approached very near to realizing this ideal, he has nearly become a god himself.”
– Sigmund Freud

World In A Sentence [Awesome 2Min Video]

Source:Shots of Awe

The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.” – Terence McKenna

Join Jason Silva as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz.

We’re On the Right Track – Inspiring Video on Why the World is Getting Better

Jason Silva on why we should see beyond the doom and gloom and realise that the world is on the right track.