Jason Silva is amazing. He calls himself a filmmaker, futurist and epiphany addict. Others describe him as “part Timothy Leary, part Ray Kurzweil (who was labeled by Forbes magazine as “the ultimate thinking machine”), and part Neo from The Matrix.”
Silva is an advocate of Radical Openness, the ability to collaborate and search the world to find the wonderment of the arts, science and the cosmos through technology. He is described by the Imaginary Foundation “like some kind of Ontological DJ, he recompiles the source code of western philosophy by mixing and mashing it up into a form of recombinant creativity, which elevates understanding from the dry and prosaic, to a sensual cognitive romance.”
What his video and your will simply say “WOW.”
Silva is not saying anything new. He is just saying it in a new way. Awe has always been part of the human experience and has always been triggered by the arts and science, from the discovery of fire and the wheel to nanotechnology being used in medicine today to the expansion of our knowledge base tomorrow. From the paintings found on cave walls in France to the frescos in the Sistine Chapel to the wonders of today’s computer generated animation.
It is what Buckminster Fuller called “synergy,” where the sum of the whole, new ideas, is greater than the sum of its parts, the old ideas that triggered the imagination.
Albert Einstein used it when he simply asked “what if” during his mind experiments, seeing himself traveling on a light wave while developing his Theory of Relativity.
I use it in my classrooms when I tell students never to think outside of the box, there is nothing there; but to think in different boxes. Look at a problem from different vantage points. To discover thinking like a five-year old who does not know or understand the limitations of the physical world.
An individual’s ability to access ideas from around the planet, then working with those ideas and create something new, was introduced to the public by the BBC’s Science & Features Department and James Burke’s “Connections” series. More specifically, watch Burkes’ 1997 An Invisible Object, a discussion concerning the connection between the elimination of aphids in French vineyards to Black Holes.
The point I am trying to make is that science and the arts together have advanced human knowledge exponentially and any reduction in the funding or science and the arts will cause the United States to lose whatever advantage we have in knowledge expansion.
Any reduction of funding by the U.S. government in science or the arts will devastate any growth of the new and exciting, the “awe” of nature’s wonderments, from DNA research to searching for the source of the singularity that would become the universe we live in now and will live in tomorrow.
It is the reduction of education, science and the arts that appears to be key to the Ryan budget and the plans of many religious conservatives who fear of secular education because it introduces our future to its past. It is a fear that science is a threat to their religions and gods. It is a fear that art is useless unless it depicts their gods and beliefs.
It is a wanting to create a 21st century “Darks Age,” where religion and mythology trumps science and where thinking outside the box of the mystics is punishable by imprisonment – or death. The Dark Ages, where rulers claiming royal divinity directly from their god could order the stoppage of anything they deem contrary to the faith. The Dark Ages, when there was little to no advancement of the human endeavor except in the development of weapons of mass destruction.
It is the conservative Republican Congress that is upset that the Draconian budget cuts, due to start on January 1, 2013 and to which they agree to in order to increase the nation’s debt limit, will somehow destroy our military superiority. That the loss of three to five new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Lighting II, or one less ship, or fewer tanks, or a smaller fighting force will somehow end the world as we know it and science is only useful to enhance weaponry. The arts are of no use at all except as propaganda.
That education should be based on biblical “truths” and public secular education needs to be replaced by church sponsored mythology.
That their god, the Christian god or gods, will provide the protection the nation needs only if everyone believes as the leaders believe.
However, we know better; that blind faith is truly blind and without the sciences and arts, without critical thinking and listening, without the awe inspired imagination of out next generation, we will fall back into the Dark Ages, literally. Just watch Burke’s very first episode, “The Trigger Effect.”
Burke reminded us that ours is a complex civilization and any small failure, such as a small relay at the power station in Niagara Falls, NY, can be catastrophic, the 1965 black out of the entire eastern seaboard.
Today, that small failure is the myth that Democrats, progressives and liberals do not need an incentive to vote, they just do. We need to do away with that myth, to fortify the need for public education, to maintain a secular government and laws, to protect our Constitution and the First Amendment by rejecting the religious conservative movement from bringing America to the brink of failure by taking the awe away from our future through the vote.
Now is the time to become active in reminding people that Christianity is not part of our Constitution, not part of our laws and accepting Christianity as a political movement and laws is un-American and endangers Article I, Section 8, clause 8 of our most sacred documents which tells us that government is responsible “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.”
David is an award winning writer, author and speaker on the issues of Church/State Separation and Religion in Politics. He teaches communication at Columbia College in Columbia, MO. and the Missouri Assistant State Chapter Leader of the National Atheist Party (NAP).
His next book, “The Clobber Passages: A treatise on homosexuality and the Bible” is scheduled for release late Fall, 2012.This is the opinion of David Rosman and does not represent the views of the NAP.