Jason Silva: a techno-postmodern twist.

The most puzzling thing about having supporters and critics is that they might never get to the core of your ideas, but they will definitely represent them and misrepresent them always better than you can.

You can find the page dedicated to a critical analysis of Jason Silva below:

https://www.facebook.com/echochamberofawe

Let me tell you some secrets. They are secrets which will be right in front of your eyes. Secrets, which you will be able to listen clearly, yet your eyes and ears most likely won’t see nor hear.

You probably have never heard of a Speech Magicians. Perhaps, you have heard of people who deceive when they talk or give a speech, but not of those who do magic with the craft of speeches.

A magician doesn’t trick us when we already know we are dealing with magic, we just don’t know the in and out of the tricks. But, what about when a magician does tricks with his speeches that not even himself is aware of?

In all the videos in this page, I will try to navigate with you how Jason Silva, like a magician, cosily hijacks your focus and distract your attention with his voice to highly enlighten your mood by putting knowledge, science and technology at the service of his magical verbal spells.

The oratory dexterity of Jason Silva is so great that what many magicians do with their hands, Jason Silva does it with his speeches and video visuals. The deceit is so great that Jason, in my view, is telling the truth and following science and facts by 99%. It is the nagging 1% of errors he makes, what might really take you as a shock since that 1% at times brings down like a house of cards the entire edifice of his sensical rhetoric.

Thus, my criticism of his verbal antics won’t be a frontal criticism. How could I criticise a magician for entertaining his audience with his magic? Magicians usually don’t reveal their secrets. It will be my task in this page to reveal Jason Silva’s secrets with the hope, like with any other magician, that he will sharpen his tricks and come up with more magic to entertain all of us even more.

To gain better clarity of my task and also help visitors of this page, you can find below a Questions & Answers section where many of your basic questions regarding this page might be answered, else you can address me directly on the page.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS.

1 — Don’t you think that by criticising Jason Silva’s ideas you are likely to be biting your own tail?

That depends on what kind of biting we are referring to. We all, somewhere, somehow show self-contradictions. The kind of self-contradictions I find in Silva’s way of thinking is more related to a lack of awareness than to the fact of whether I have them or not. At a philosophical level, of course, we fall into then at some point in time. Highlighting when we do so, I call it transparency.

2 — What is your motivation to have such critical approach to Jason Silva’s ideas?

My approach is critical, but it is much more than that. I am being more heuristic than critical with Silva’s ideas. Criticism only serves as an entry door to probe further and experiment with his ideas beyond the effects of “awe” they cause in our minds.

3 — Why don’t you try doing something to add greatness to the world instead of trying to lift yourself up by putting others down?

Probing with Silva’s ideas is not the only nor the fundamental thing I am doing at the moment. Currently, I am working on three books. You can check my Facebook pages for that. I am not putting Silva’s ideas down and my ideas have only started to give baby’s steps, not precisely “up”. So far they are “crawling,” and it is yet to be seen if they raise up. Also, my assessment of Silva’s ideas is not geared to dismiss completely what he is doing. I find value in what he does. In my view, it is just cluttered with weak connections and unquestioned premises.

4 — Isn’t your criticism based on egotistical jealousy?

I don’t think so, but I would need further arguments for someone to validate such statement. Jealousy is the wanting of something that we believe to be entitled to, but we feel impotent or frustrated because we can get it or we can’t have control of it.
Criticising sometimes comes from a place of jealousy, but that is not always the case. I do believe Jason’s ideas to be inspiring, but to me, they are rhapsodic inspirations, which only act as momentary placebo effects; great for some fleeting thrilling experiences of the now, but not that great for truly making changes in our lives. I have experienced plenty of rhapsodic moments in my life and not necessarily through speeches. I do admire Jason’s speech performances, but they do not please me at many other levels.

5 — Don’t you like thinking positive?

It depends on what we mean by positive. I do not believe in the law of attraction from the New Thought philosophy. It can be temporarily helpful for people who have been trapped by negative thoughts or emotions for too long, but that is not my case. I think we could practice that for a while and it could be effective for sometimes, but I believe we are better off by letting in as much positive as negative thoughts in our minds to optimal levels. Our lives can effectively nourish from both. I see Jason’s approaches too focused on the positive and in my view that is a weak position to be in life. I actually appreciate the pursuit of what he calls, “flow states”, but it has become too much of a mantra and a totem to him.

6 — Why instead of dismissing Jason Silva’s contributions in such a harsh bitter way don’t you have a more neutral approach?

I think that Jason would be the best person to have a say on that. At times, I have used irony and satire, but I don’t think that should distract too much from the points I have made. Bitterness is not something I let in easily. Neutrality is created not found. When we want to create neutrality we have to be willing to accept our coldness or our hotness as the initial state we started with when that is the state we started with. To be purposely warm all the time is not to be warm at all. It would simply make us cold-hearted warm.

7 — Don’t you think we can always find inconsistencies in the way anyone thinks if we purposefully and methodically try to?

Most certainly, when all you got is a hammer, everything is a nail. When Freud’s theory was at its peak, everything needed to be psychoanalysed. When deconstruction became a hot intellectual buzzword, everything needed to be deconstructed. I am not applying any pre-empt method of analysis to Silva’s ideas. We live in a time whose gestalt is to dethrone any kind of greatness as much as to raise all kind of greatness. I leave Jason’s idea where they are. I am just showing what is happening behind the scene right in front of our very eyes. Just as he did with many optical illusions when he was hosting Brain Games TV series.

8 — Isn’t your “deconstructing” approach already worn out and passé?

I wouldn’t say I am deconstructing Jason’s ideas. To deconstruct is to disassemble and separate into pieces something with the hope that with such separation we find ancestral original pieces which change radically our whole understanding of that thing once we put it back together. Deconstruction has often been associated with the hopes that by just disassembling things, meanings and realities we should be able to change them radically for the better. As I said, I am not disassembling Jason’s ideas. I accept them as they are in their “optical illusions”. I just show those “optical illusions.” It is up to anyone to stay with those illusions and take his video performances not as the labour of a magician, but as the work of a philosopher. Magicians often don’t want to reveal their tricks and the audience is often ok with that.

9 — Why do you think Jason Silva’s way of thinking is futurist postmodernist?

Postmodernism since its origins was more related to a gloomy and pessimistic view of society and technology. It was mainly constructivism and futurism the dominant ideas of the positive and optimistic side of postmodernism. Jason’s is postmodernist for the “deconstructive” side of his speeches. He relentlessly tries to arbitrarily meddle different concepts from different fields as if they truly had an organic seamless unity through euphoric “shots of awe.” Postmodernism has come to be a manufactured and semantically over engineered eye-candy melting pots of unrelated terminologies geared to impress and overstretch the meanings of things and ideas for self-indulgent intellectual snobbery.

10 — What do you hope to get out of this page?

To show that to philosophise is not to make illusionist speeches while keeping hidden from listeners such illusions. The Socratic debates in the Agora of ancient Greece were not driven by illusionist or magicians, unless, of course, we could spot a crafted sophist leading the speeches. There is nothing wrong with being a magician or a sophist, but to say that a sophist is a philosopher is like saying that a magician tricks are not tricks. I have as much respect for true knowledge as I have for magicians, but to pass the last one for the first one is mere superstition. The true magic of knowledge is that it has not magic, but it does appear as magical when its content is delivered to us like a bullet of mingled or partially black boxed concepts, while inconsistencies are artfully dodged. To dodge inconsistencies is an art form, but it is not the art form of the dissemination of knowledge nor the art form of wisdom.

11 — What are your background and influences?

I studied philosophy at university and I also write computer code. My major influences have been my radical life experiences. I have gone through a lot of shifts and turns in my life, which has shaped the way I think in far better ways than any academic studies or books. I, however, have many intellectual influences. In philosophy, Hegel, Nietzsche and Marshall McLuhan. In Art, Cezanne and Paul Klee. In literature, James Joyce and Marcel Proust. In music, Bach and John Cage. In cinema, Fellini and Lynch. In science, Georg Cantor and Richard Feynman. My major influences have also been the women (especially my mother) I have had the privilege to share my life with.

12 — Are you confrontational and like to play the role of a contrarian in debates?

No really. I would say that I have an eagle eye to spot logical inconsistencies, even when I also have blind spots. If your lifeline depended on your inconsistencies and your fans were happy to follow you blinded, but you are not deliberately deluding them, I’m more likely to have a less sharp approach. I can take the heat in any debate, but I usually prefer calm and almost meditative conversations.

13 — Why the page is titled, Jason Silva Echo Chamber of Awe?

An Echo Chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a defined system. Inside a figurative echo chamber, official sources often go unquestioned and different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented (Wikipedia).

I am more interested in natural cultural Echo Chambers, which have their natural and spontaneous ways of coercion and censoring “freak” views when the system in which they are expressed has virtually 100% of agreeability. Jason Silva’s cultural Echo Chamber fulfils all those criteria.

In that sense, my views about Jason’s ideas are likely to be taken as “freak” views considering the overwhelming level of agreeability by his audience.

In a natural Cultural Echo Chamber any form of criticism is supposed not only to add, but also reinforce the already accepted validity of the gurus, leaders or pioneers who brought the new shift in perspective.

Any attempt to show inconsistencies that might shake the holistic validity of the system will be either fiercely isolated and discredited by using emotional and logical ad-hoc rhetoric or diplomatically belittled and called out for missing the point and not having been educated enough into the depths of the system.

Such depths are actually bottomless depths and at the same time they are exponentially valid. Jason is seen as so right in so many things that any time invested in proving detractors wrong is a wasted time Hence, they are brutally or courteously escorted out of the shared ontological nirvana.

Jason’s depths have almost reached god-like validity. Even Jason’s constant calling to collective god-mode states hides the blunt reality of he being the axis of such call and the only obvious worshipped person.

I am already tasting those elements of Jason’s cultural Echo Chamber of Awe in this page.

14 — Has Jason Silva reacted to your page and do you hope so?

Initially, he gave me a few “likes” in my Facebook timeline, not in his, but he never commented. I think he was being ironic considering that I was giving exposure to his videos on my Facebook. I haven’t created this page to get a reaction from him. At the moment I only can see him as a vessel of ideas which I find questionable but also worth scrutinising. There are many militant postmodern ideas, which I wouldn’t dedicate my time criticising. They are either too cocooned in academicism or too locked in the trenches of political activism. Jason seems much more layback. My questioning of Jason’s ideas is heuristic, so a dialogue is always possible.

15 — Why the nickname of pirate Captain Sparrow?

In the same way, Jason creates a persona for his video, I created a persona out of myself who call him, captain Jason Silva Sparrow. In Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow played by Jonny Depp is much closer to a Shakespearean character like Falstaff than we might think. Falstaff is witty but naive; a liar and dishonest, but weak and charming; shallow and casual, but a straight talker with some depth to himself.
Jason’s speeches feel to me like shots of Falstaffian awe, probably with the difference that Jason is slim and physically attractive by conventional standards. Jason also has better verbal skills to unintentionally cover up his petite lies than Falstaff and Jack Sparrow combined. Jason has more self-awareness, so his blind spots are less accessible to him. Funnily, I do like Falstaff and Jack Sparrow because they bring philosophical issues without intending to be philosophical, unlike Jason. Jason’s ideas are cluttered with petite lies, often hard to detect, but he is lovable, charming and “he wouldn’t hurt a fly”. Thus, our brain is naturally inclined to license Jason’s ideas with the MEGO principle: My Eyes Glaze Over.

16 — What do you see as valuable in Jason Silva’s contributions?

First, I think he makes people feel quickly hype up, enlightened and positive. That could make a huge short-term difference in the lives of people who are sensitive to dark and negative thoughts or emotions due to real and genuine traumatic experiences in their lives.
Jason’s videos can also be beneficial to those who fear or feel very uneasy with negative thoughts and emotions even when they might not have gone through traumatic experiences in their lives. Jason’s ideas are great verbal smoothening and invigorating placebos for the intellectually minded who try to stay away from the “hard-candy” facts of life.
His videos truly transport you into a mental and emotional state of over manufactured bliss. Yet, to ignore that such bliss is just placebo effects is to me to neglect the natural nourishing qualities of the chaos in our lives. Jason’s ideas are great, they are just too overzealous of their greatness.

17 — Do you really believe Jason Silva is being dishonest with his audience?

Today we practice dishonesty without knowing. It seems that only when we are the agency of our knowledge and actions is that we entrust ourselves with responsibility. I believe that being heuristic and probing with our ideas and actions could facilitate better for us to be open to our own blind spots no matter how certain we might be about our own beliefs.
Honesty to me goes beyond what we know we know and what we know we don’t know. Honesty covers what we don’t know that we don’t know. I don’t see such ethical stand in Jason’s idea even when his speeches appear with all the aura of humble decor with which he dresses them up.
We don’t have control of what we don’t know that we don’t know, and that is a good thing because it allows us to tap into what is truly out of our reach no matter how much self-awareness we put into it. Jason’s ideas lead to a full self-awareness that pretends or wants to believe to leave nothing out.

18 — How do Jason Silva’s videos make you feel?

Sometimes they make me laugh. Other times they make me think how little I disagree with them by just a fraction of inconsistencies. Yet, such tiny fraction makes his thinking collapse like a house of card right in front of my eyes.

19 — Are Jason Silva’s ideas shallow and superficial or tailored for the dilettante and cultural junkie in all of us?

There is something of shallowness to them, but more importantly, there is a great deal of hastiness. Jason imprisons great ideas in his own ecstasy and refuses to give to them any parole. I believe that it is good to imprison ideas in polished states, but we are better off when we let them breathe and give them parole before we condemn them to the altar of perfection.
Jason knows well how to present polished and relatively credible ideas. That’s probably also his weakness. There is a hard work on his part to get their magical effects rolling. I wouldn’t say that he is a poet or an artist. To me, he is a magician or better, a semantic illusionist who knows well how to perform semantic acrobatic and appear as logically consistent as possible even when he is not being optimal. Popular science is something else and I don’t think he is popularising science or the Arts. The work of magicians is not to popularise the knowledge of their tricks, but to keep their illusions out of sight.

20 — If you were to see what Jason Silva is doing from the perspective of performance art, would that change the way you view his ideas?

I don’t see much difference between the semantic value of its content during video performances compared with his contributions during interviews. In the first ones, he just adds plenty of visual and acoustics, reinforced by his relentless emotional override of the verbal content raw value.

Performance art, when it is philosophical, it is meant to be so by letting the visual and the body speak for themselves in a philosophical way. However, there is a difference between performance art and performing art. The first one is based on live and partially unscripted staging of a craft, while the second one is not so much. Jason doesn’t fit quite well in any of the two.
Philosophy can be speculative and based on verbal improvisation without having to be so by way of a performance. Socrates and many Sophist teachers engaged in such practices in Ancient Greece, but still, Sophocles and Aristophanes were performing their plays at the amphitheatre and not at the Agora.

Philosophy historically has been a work of verbal and written language which has used mediation and abstraction to serve our intuitions and to materialise things in reality. Language as a mediation tool has its own material reality, but it can’t be level up to our external reality in the way Jason does it. His speeches, no doubt, have some philosophical underpinnings and are driven by some kind of theatrical performance, but they are not performances and they are not the work of a philosopher.
If a magician can be considered a performing artist, Jason is definitely one. Jason is a person with a history of having non-professional passion in many different fields. Funnily, he has turned such passion into a profession. It is in such oxymoronic twist (turning a non-professional interest into a profession of some sort) that I found the most intriguing philosophical aspect of Jason’s ideas.

In order to do so, he had to hone his skill very well in one particular interest, in this case, filming and tv hosting. Thus, he was able to add all the rest of his non-professional interest into the pot. Since the filming skills he has honed reached a decent professional level he found a theme in line with his interests and threw them into the pot of filming to get a decent polished product. And he did indeed.

However, there is an illusion at work in here. When he throws into that pot some reference to philosophy, art or technology, he and his audience assume he is either a philosopher, an artist, a futurist or the three combined. Often, he actually believes to be much more. He is an ecstasy facilitator.

At times, he has stated that he is fascinated by situations and experiences in which two plus two is not four, but 100 or much more. Yet, one thing is to be fascinated by such situations and quite another to be applying such wishful thinking to his own ideas. Jason loves to hype up the validity of his ideas far beyond of what they actually are or what they truly can say, not because things can’t be so, but because he wishes that such were the case all the time and for every idea he utters.

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Ulysses Alvarez Laviada

Ulysses Alvarez Laviada

Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights. Friedrich Hegel.