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Futurist and filmmaker Jason Silva, whom the Atlantic has described as “a Timothy Leary of the Viral Video Age,” was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on this date in 1982. His mother was Ashkenazi, his father a convert to Judaism. Silva says that his family was secular and that his home was “akin to a Woody Allen film.” A passionate storyteller and performance philosopher, Silva co-hosts National Geographic’s Brain Games and posts his micro-documentary Shots of Awe, which combine philosophy, psychology, sociology, spirituality, science, technology, arts, love, and humanity. Silva declares that “Science and technology increasingly made religion more difficult to believe. . . . We are the gods now.” Emphasizing curiosity and creativity, Silva doesn’t simply want to “feel” the occasional “ecstatic moments” of life and let them slip away into the ever-distancing past; he wants to narrate them in real time and capture them using his film skills — he started filming as a teen and earned his university degree in film and philosophy — in order to preserve these ephemeral moments for eternity — or at least as long as we can hold onto them. He chooses not to take the Buddhist path of non-attachment to the present world, but instead, like Dylan Thomas, to “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” To see him speaking on “radical openness,” look below.
“The fuel for my work is simply a desire to give back in some fundamental way.” — Jason Silva
This Jewdayo was written by Dan Brook, who teaches sociology at San Jose State University.
Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.