Shots of Awe

Shots of Awe

2014, Philosophy  -   29 Comments
Ratings: 6.70/10 from 141 users.

Jason Silva hosts Shots of Awe, a short documentary series that summates some of mankind's most daunting scientific pursuits into fun and exciting videos that the layman can understand.

Silva aims to inspire and excite those not versed in the topic through the passion he clearly has for the subject matter he's presenting, and every single episode of Shots leaves you feeling inspired and hopeful about what human beings can and will accomplish in the years to come. Hera are some of the more enjoyable and enlightening episodes, and a little about what they touch on:

Exploring Space: Cosmic Revolutionaries: What uses will we put our cosmic travel pursuits to? What are some of the benefits and advances that will organically develop as space travel becomes routine?

Technium: Attempts to put to rest the notion that technology is unnatural, and poses the argument that anything birthed out of humankind is birthed out of nature because humankind is birthed from nature.

Engineering Our Own Divinity: The buildings and spaces we build create a feedback loop that informs the lives we live, so we directly control the world and life we experience.

Digital Shamans: A syllabus of books written by brilliant people whose texts are geared towards thinking beyond the limits of the reality most believe we live in.

Psychedelic Technology: The very first thoughts an inventor has that lead to the invention of a previously uncreated technology are in fact hallucinations - thoughts that are not bound by the present reality.

Existential Bummer: Our most extreme emotions of happiness and love are often tinged with a hint of sadness, and Silva theorizes that it is because we have an understanding of the fleeting nature of all living things - that we and every living thing we love will die.

Artificial Intelligence: Fears that machine will eradicate us, its creator, are unfounded. Artificial intelligence is just an extension of intelligence beyond the bounds of physicality, it is us.

We're On the Right Track: Despite doom and gloom theories about the disastrous state of present day society, hard data indicates that humanity is prospering as greatly as it ever has - the odds a man will die at the hands of another man, on a global scale, are the lowest they have ever been in history, for example.

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29 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Bender

    Geeza seems to be holding his wee through the whole series, hence the constant body twitching and accelerated speech. Nature calls, better take it

  2. Russ Tul

    "Epoch" is pronounced "eepoch"

  3. Superman

    I laughed at these videos. Every time he started to talk I felt like giving him pom-poms. It seemed like this is amazing and that is fascinating and I continued to scratch my head over and over. There was so much unbelievable rhetoric and non sense and he really does not understand the philosophers or the meaning of there works. My favorite part was when he proclaims "all of over the world people are living better" & I thought.. really? That is why everyone is so happy in this country? I could list hundreds of examples where quality of life has gone down. Yes the smart phone is nice but despite this neat gadget the standard of living is down not up in the US. I should have stopped there but I continue to watch this love feast that did not resemble reality. He is peppy and makes you feel "special" just like a cheerleader.

  4. Hrothgar Von Grumbles

    Lighten up francis. I think the work is pretty cool given the medium. It's 2-3 minutes and many of you are slamming him for scratching the surface? Are you kidding... of course he is... it's 180 seconds. It's meant to be a spark.. A small thought made interesting by his hyper energy and visuals. Certainly repetitive and cheesy in spots but I give the fella some credit for trying to create a spark. I for one find them pretty enjoyable in doses.. The fretting and intellectualism here is just so self-important.

  5. House

    Here is something recycled of thoughts, put into a fanciful sequence of music, cunning semantics and visual playfulness all to seduce anyone watching that the content is something of value or fruitful.

  6. iopumerle

    He's not inventing anything new, nor philosophically rigorous, that is true, but he has a power to inspire which is pretty incredible. His channel is a work of art, he's sharing with us the world he sees through the filter of his conscience, and it's beautiful. I wonder if other similar channels on youtube exist.

  7. bluetortilla

    Naw, I think he's awesome. His beat style and frenetic pace are annoying as hell however.

  8. disqus_agHQGNOQnP

    He is not original in his thinking or speaking.
    He is just puking other's ideas, quotes, art, etc.
    It seems he is bragging about other's creations as if they are his own.
    He bought his own internal hype.
    It is annoyingly lame.

    1. Alien8

      Yup. He should study a little bioethics and he's quickly realize he is a nutcase... merging technology with humans is a downgrade. Just because machines are faster doesn't mean they are better. A machine is a thing with no mind or soul. We might as well merge with rocks since they last longer than the iPhone.

    2. EngineerEverything

      You do realize that we all engage in this ... we all puke things/concepts we learn from books, speeches etc. and utilize it as our own, all of which are other peoples thoughts and ideas. If he were to go around quoting sources for everything he says, or if we did that, conversations would sound like term papers and will be very disengaging (which is clearly something you want to avoid when dealing with visual media). Stop hating on the guy, and focus on the concepts, irrespective of who spouted it.

    3. Q

      I don't agree w/ much of what you say here: We don't all do this & I am definitely not hating on him. I don't care that much about him to have any feeling about him one way or another. Just commenting/voicing my opinion regarding "his work"/project. I feel like it was a total waste o' time watching it. That's all.

  9. Deck Hazen

    I have to go along with the comments that follow (Val Valiant Five) - I guess its meant to sound deep, but it just sounds like psycho-babble to me. Jason might also consider cutting back on the coffee.

  10. Val Valiant Five

    So people know, this is not a documentary; It's 2 minutes-or-less snippets by a very excitable A.A.D.D. dude presented as quasi-philosophy. Some of it is insightful, but the majority of topics briefly (very briefly) hit on here will be extremely painful for anyone with a philosophical/scientific background to watch.

    As far as I can tell, it's meant for to be viewed on an iphone in bars to make you look deep and interesting to the person you are trying to pick up.

    1. Guest

      I don't agree with it all, and much of it, is pondering items, that aren't falsifiable. But, name a few of your objections, esp in regards to the science, please sir?

    2. Val Valiant Five

      "Iphone therefor I am" -he said.

      That makes me shudder every time.

      What I'm opposed to is the delivery, I guess. He says things in dude speak that feels (to me) to send the message off into "just so way-cool" land. I'll have to admit though he's got a good grasp on E. Beckers take on awe and horror.

    3. Insignificantly Significant

      Outside of the vomit inducing marketability of the thing, the iphone(cell phones in general) is an amazing tool. He speaks of T Mckenna, who even back before 2001, compared cell phones to the sorcerer stone, or universal
      panacea(bear with me lol).

      They’re leaning in the direction, of being a universal platform(a malleable scaffold set, that fits in your pocket), to interface with the world. He also talks about hallucinogens. And maybe you just think of some burn out hippie, whenever thinking about anyone taking such things. But, they have been rather important tools, since probably before we were even human(at least 1000’s of years). They’ve all been bastardized, by the prudent structure we’ve been conditioned by. Cell phones, social networks(the net in general), and video games(VR), are spoke of as toys, like recreational drugs- when in actuality, they’re connecting us, and allowing us to interact with the world, more dynamically than ever before…and at an exponential rate. TM said
      that VR was probably replacing “drugs”, as a tool. On the right drugs(and amount lol), you xp things that were previously obscured, but it’s hard to bring back. That’s why shamans are held in such high regards, they’re tasked with communicating, what’s found in the depths. And VR is allowing us to “share our dreams”, as mckenna says. It’s a user friendly (now we can all be shamans, in a sense) interface, that can manifest our imaginations, or “hallucinations”…without any drugs. Tech is basically augmenting our physiological capacities, acting as an appendage. Cell phones are like little windows, that allow us to channel these expressions, and soon, will
      probably be as big as a hit of acid lol.

      Long drawn out answer short: they’re a lot more than just silly toys, which seems to be the gen consensus. It is something, we should be much more excited about. Imagine if a caveman, got a hold of today’s phone. We take it all for granted.

    4. Insignificantly Significant

      I think, therefore I am. Thoughts are just a byproduct of chemical reactions(drugs), that we use to interact with the environment. Think of the brain, as bio tech(a universal platform of old). It's an extension, of a more primitive cellular network(that is an extension of a more primitive molecular network and so on), just as today's tech, is an extension of the brain. Is it as cheesy as my name, of course. Is descartes fine with it? I'm sure he doesn't mind. Really though, why shouldn't transmitting thoughts, in such dynamic and "everlasting" ways, be considered an amazing existential claim. I think it's because society is too spoiled, to see how marvelous our world, truly is. Thoughts are rather temporary, until recorded, and esp in such a fashion, as they are today. It's a big deal lol...

    5. DigiWongaDude

      Though I appreciate where you are coming from (made me grin at the thought of picking up gurls in a bar with your own pocket version of Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting) but there's not really any AADD going on here. I had to look that version of it up because I wasn't even aware of its entrance on to the stage of mental disorders. Sounds expensive and highly profitable, what will they think of next?

      But I have no doubt if this guy went for therapy claiming he didn't feel "normal", there would be clinically verified and FDA certified methods of diagnosis and treatment to assist him in doing so. What a shame if he did, Robin Williams would now say.

      I think the 'performance' is spot on in a digital world where information becomes ever more bite sized and faster, for quicker consumption. That's the poetic licence he's using - like Russell Crowe in Gladiator "Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?" [silence, followed by chanting and applause]. So maybe, there's even another layer to his performance?

      Not a word about the content though? I, for one, particularly liked episode 13 - Flow State*. He is talking about the role that chaos (and switching off) can and does have in being creative and finding inspiration. I hope the irony there is not lost on you.

      [*There's a detailed BBC Horizon on this called "The Creative Brain - How Insight Works"]

    6. Val Valiant Five

      That's a pretty good summery of all this. As for content, he does point at stuff well, profound stuff that all of us should be looking into. But scratching the surface of weighty subjects like this is perpetuating a brief attention span society- it's the point I was trying to make with the attention deficit wisecrack.

      We are not training ourselves to think deeply, by mere capitulation to the easy access knowledge today's technology gives us, we are dumbing ourselves down. Not looking into things, not exploring ideas... Just touching on them and turning away to the next thing to catch our attention. We have forgotten a preponderance of - pondering.

      To me it's like watching someone run through a gallery with an iphone clicking away snaps for facebook... Never looking up from the screen to see the art.

    7. Insignificantly Significant

      I’m not the fanboy type or anything, but in Mr. Silva’s defense; they did name it ‘shots’ of awe, not inspirational porridge lol.

      edit-and he does toss out, quite a bit of references to look further into, even annoyingly so lol. You may have missed the point, or just see it differently, i suppose. It's just hard for me to imagine, him being seen, as not being explorative, or not inspiring other's to.

  11. Rodney Bresch

    “Character is a vital lie”. This is how I interpret that: Identity is an illusion, contrived by nature, to facilitate evolutionary requisites,
    such as life and death, success and failure. I want to touch on so many other parts, but I’ll limit my rambling to thus…sorry, his and other rants like it, always excite me. He's like Mckenna, on speed lol.

  12. Rodney Bresch

    Space was too volatile an environment, for life as we know it, to form. It most likely started in the depths of the ocean. Water was “our” first medium. We moved up towards the surface(less pressure), and eventually flopped into our next medium, air(even less pressure, or more “elbow room”). Now, we’ve been moving into a realm, where there’s “virtually” no pressure, or space. Or are we virtualizing the process, as we create digital realms, to continue the process of evolution, virtually unhindered? Or some combo, as the realms are fused…interstellar nodes, anyone? Lol

    But, at the earlier stages of development, like in the womb, we needed to be more grounded. We had to learn to swim, before we could crawl, and to walk and run, before we could take the next leap, and so on.

  13. Rodney Bresch

    It got low votes, and some content is quite repetitive, esp watching them all at once. But, it's full of little poetic jewels...stay hungry folks.

  14. desktop joe

    I have lived on this planet for over 50 years now and have seen the progress of technology grow exponentially over that time. Humanity however has yet to grow up and until we shed our cultural fears, embrace our better angels, acknowledge ourselves as one race not all the wonders of the universe are going to transcend us. I hope, I still hope that we can grow up before we get out into space otherwise I just see our race as a virus invading the wider universe.

  15. oQ

    I think i would have loved it even if i was blind or deaf.
    Jason Silva has the ability to use words in a way that he leaves no room between them, only after he stops are you left realizing that those spaces were connected with perfect illustrations and accompanied by the right note, right tone, right emphasis.
    He tells his reverence for ART and for the infinite ways one can explore the medium of their choice.
    He did just that with making this series.
    Highly recommended, and i'm not done.

  16. oQ

    Will check it out for SURE now, solid opinions to rest on. I already like the description.

  17. Achems_Razor

    Good stuff, enjoyed this upwards mobility reach for the stars fresh and positive doc. Recommended!

  18. DigiWongaDude

    In the grandiose quagmire that has become the status quo, here's a fresh, loud, educated, impassioned, spontaneous, frenzy of a voice. Well done Mr Silva (for your enthusiasm alone) to extract from the viewer, an emotional response. Dive in. Discuss. Dismiss. Debate. There is plenty for all in this in-your-face presentation.

    1. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

      Nice, I like this comment most of all.

      The point of it, is to educate, and philosophise.
      Sparking creativity, logic, rational and lateral thinking.