4 Things Jason Silva Said at Tribeca That Prove He Is a Walking Media Studies Wikipedia

From iPhones to IMAX there is no shortage of screens to cast our eyes upon a good story. Along with the growing mediums, narratives themselves have crescendoed to represent bigger worlds and complex storylines filled with a motley of interesting characters across hours and hours of media. We are not just watching anymore but becoming immersed in fiction. This year’s Tribeca Film Festival brought together three experts on the art of story and the influence technology is having on our content consumption for a panel called “Immerse Yourself.” Among the panelists was Venezuelan-born Jason Silva. He is futurist and a philosopher and the main brainiac for National Geographic’s Brain Games. Silva is basically a walking media studies Wikipedia. He deconstructs consciousness, quotes Diana Slattery, and touts the sensory benefits of smoking marijuana all in a single bound. This dude talks about communication as though he were in the middle of a freestyle flow. Here are some highlights from his contribution to this Tribeca Talks panel.

On the difference between distraction and immersion

“People are consuming content on a smaller and smaller screen real estate, and these are dynamic screens. Unlike television or movie theater which is one thing, I’m watching this content on my iPhone that simultaneously vibrating when you get a Tweet, or text messages and emails are coming. Look, I get it: it’s great; these are devices that can do it all. But that to me is the opposite of being immersed. Every time something is interrupting my flow, it actually causes me anxiety.”

“If you look at the manmade world, that’s congealed imagination, that’s all congealed intent: skyscrapers, jet engines, and movies.”

On why movies are still the ultimate form of cognitive bliss

“It’s interesting hearing you talk about the new golden age of television because this is the narrative now, these premium TV shows, whether it’s House of Cards or one of the other ones, they’re changing what TV is because so much of Hollywood has become all about the tent pole blockbuster at the expense of more thought-provoking films. But what’s really interesting to me is that aesthetically, and in terms of full on immersion, nothing for me yet can compete with the full size movie theater. And so it’s frustrating that I might be limited more and more to just TV because it’s not quite the big screen experience. Also, what I love about a well-done film is it’s a self-contained entity. I can give myself completely to it because it’s just two hours. But when I’m binge watching fifteen episodes of House of Cards, that’s asking a lot and all of a sudden I can’t give myself with the same intensity because life get’s in the way. And so it’s like, “Shit, I don’t want there to be another episode and another episode and another episode. I want this to be self-contained perfection. In two hours I want the answer.”

On how virtual reality can benefit dating

“I think combining marijuana with cinema is going to lead to all new intersubjective life-worlds because it softens and makes us more receptive.”

“Terence McKenna used to say that the goal of humanity is to turn ourselves inside out. And if you look at our technologies, they are all an extension of our imagination. If you look at the manmade world, that’s congealed imagination, that’s all congealed intent: skyscrapers, jet engines, and movies. Gene Youngblood said, “Cinema is about mankind’s historical drive to manifest his consciousness outside of his mind and in front of his eyes.” We want to turn ourselves inside out. Imagine the intimate spaces that we can go to when instead of talking to somebody by making little monkey noises and saying, “I really love you, I wrote you a song.” You get to say, “Come into my virtual world. Come into my imagination. You can actually step into my imagination.” That’s the kind of future that I dream about and what becomes possible then.”

On how the legalization of marijuana will improve the moviegoing experience

“I think empathy is the Holy Grail but to experience empathy you have to be so completely focused on the other that you become the other. You gotta be free from distractions that would break the narrative spell. The word I like is intersubjectivity. So intersubjectivity is when you actually trade subjectivities with a character. You become the other. You blast new tunnels between the mind and the other. And it’s the ultimate. I mean, that’s like when any gesture in the character’s face suddenly makes you well up in tears. It’s like the most delicious experience in the world. It’s like a technologically mediated Buddhism. Like there is no “I,” there is no “them,” we are all one. What is within is without, what is without is within. It is pure intersubjective ecstasy and I live for that experience. But to be able to make the trance be that powerful, you have to be in the theater, you have to be like primed, at least for me, it means even maybe skipping breakfast because I don’t want to be weighed down and in my body. I want to disappear. I’m excited by the legalization of marijuana because I think combining marijuana with cinema is going to lead to all new intersubjective life-worlds because it softens and makes us more receptive, right?”

We partnered with the Tribeca Film Festival to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the Latino talent at this year’s fest. Read our coverage on and