Jason Silva: To Understand is to Perceive Patterns

Posted by on Dec 29, 2011

“True comprehension comes when the dots are revealed and you get Steven Johnson’s Long View…put simply: Everything is connected… Chance favours the connected mind…”

These are some of the ideas film maker Jason Silva shares with his usual enthusiasm on the fastest growing network in TV history – “Current TV”.

The Imaginary Foundation says “To Understand Is To Perceive Patterns”…

Albert-László Barabási, author of LINKED, wants you to think about NETWORKS:

Networks are Everywhere
“Networks are everywhere. The brain is a network of nerve cells connected by axons, and cells themselves are networks of molecules connected by biochemical reactions. Societies, too, are networks of people linked by friendships, familial relationships and professional ties.

On a larger scale, food webs and ecosystems can be represented as networks of species. And networks pervade technology: the Internet, power grids and transportation systems are but a few examples.

Even the language we are using to convey these thoughts to you is a network, made up of words connected by syntactic relationships.”

‘For decades, we assumed that the components of such complex systems as the cell, the society, or the Internet are randomly wired together. In the past decade, an avalanche of research has shown that many real networks, independent of their age, function, and scope, converge to similar architectures, a universality that allowed researchers from different disciplines to embrace network theory as a common paradigm.’

Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, writes about recurring patterns and liquid networks:

The Cities of the Seas
“Coral reefs are sometimes called “the cities of the sea”, and part of the argument is that we need to take the metaphor seriously: the reef ecosystem is so innovative because it shares some defining characteristics with actual cities.

These patterns of innovation and creativity are fractal: they reappear in recognizable form as you zoom in and out, from molecule to neuron to pixel to sidewalk. Whether you’re looking at original innovations of carbon-based life, or the explosion of news tools on the web, the same shapes keep turning up… when life gets creative, it has a tendency to gravitate toward certain recurring patterns, whether those patterns are self-organizing, or whether they are deliberately crafted by human agents”

Patrick Pittman from Dumbo Feather adds:
Everything is Connected
“Put simply: cities are like ant colonies are like software is like slime molds are like evolution is like disease is like sewage systems are like poetry is like the neural pathways in our brain. Everything is connected.
“…Johnson uses ‘The Long Zoom’ to define the way he looks at the world—if you concentrate on any one level, there are patterns that you miss. When you step back and simultaneously consider, say, the sentience of a slime mold, the cultural life of downtown Manhattan and the behavior of artificially intelligent computer code, new patterns emerge.”

James Gleick, author of THE INFORMATION, has written how the cells of an organism are nodes in a richly interwoven communications network, transmitting and receiving, coding and decoding and how Evolution itself embodies an ongoing exchange of information between organism and environment.. (Its an ECO-SYSTEM, an EVOLVING NETWORK)

“If you want to understand life,” Wrote Richard Dawkins, “don’t think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.” (AND THINK ABOUT NETWORKS!!)

Geoffrey West, from The Santa Fe Institute, also believes in the pivotal role of NETWORKS:

Network Systems Can Sustain Life at All Scales
“…Network systems can sustain life at all scales, whether intracellularly or within you and me or in ecosystems or within a city…. If you have a million citizens in a city or if you have 1014 cells in your body, they have to be networked together in some optimal way for that system to function, to adapt, to grow, to mitigate, and to be long term resilient.”

Author Paul Stammetts writes about The Mycelial Archetype: He compares the mushroom mycelium with the overlapping information-sharing systems that comprise the Internet, with the networked neurons in the brain, and with a computer model of dark matter in the universe. All share this densely intertwingled filamental structure.

To understand is to perceive patterns

An article in Reality Sandwich called Google a psychedelically informed superpowered network, a manifestation of the mycelial archetype:

Chance Favours the Connected Mind
“Recognizing this super-connectivity and conductivity is often accompanied by blissful mindbody states and the cognitive ecstasy of multiple “aha’s!” when the patterns in the mycelium are revealed.

That Googling that has become a prime noetic technology (How can we recognize a pattern and connect more and more, faster and faster?: superconnectivity and superconductivity) mirrors the increased speed of connection of thought-forms from cannabis highs on up.

The whole process is driven by desire not only for these blissful states in and of themselves, but also as the cognitive resource they represent.The devices of desire are those that connect,” because as Johnson says “CHANCE FAVORS THE CONNECTED MIND”.
Geoffrey WEST on The sameness of organisms, cities, and corporations:

Stephen Johnson’s LONG VIEW

BARABASI’s Scale Free Networks:

Manuel Lima’s Visual Complexity:

Paul Stammets Myceilum is everywhere:


A collaboration of /Jason Silva and /Notthisbody incorporating:

/Aaron Koblin
/Andrea Tseng
/Genki Ito
/Cheryl Colan
/Grant Kayl
/Katie Armstrong
/Page Stephenson
/Jesse Kanda
/Jared Raab
/Angela Palmer
/Pedro Miguel Cruz
/Takuya Hosogane
/Rob Whitwort

**and some original animations from Tiffany Shlain’s film CONNECTED: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology

By @jason_silva and @notthisbody – Follow us on Twitter!

Our other videos:

Beginning of Infinity – http://vimeo.com/29938326

You are a RCVR – http://vimeo.com/27671433
Jason Silva
Jason Silva is a Venezuelan-American television personality, filmmaker and journalist who is the founding producer/host for “Current TV” the Emmy winning youth-oriented lifestyle cable network started by former US Vice President Al Gore.
“Current TV” is now the fastest growing network in TV history.
Silva was born in Caracas, Venezuela and now lives in Los Angeles, California.

Jason Silva earned a degree in film and philosophy from the University of Miami, Florida. Along with best friend, Max Lugavere, he produced and starred in a video documentary/performance piece called “Textures of Selfhood”.

“Max and Jason” have become a prolific hosting and producing duo on Current TV. Silva produced and directed a short documentary film “the Immortalists” which profiled scientists on the subject of merging technology and biology in ways to overcome our biological limitations.
This film was based the quote: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”

Pangea Day
Pangea Day was created by filmmaker Jehane Noujaim and TED curator Chris Anderson, with the goal of using film to unite the people of the world through the power of film.

Jason Silva along with his co-host on Current TV, Max Lugavere hosted the first annual Pangea Day on May 10, 2008, a 4 hour program of film, music and speakers that was broadcast worldwide to over 150 countries with a projected audience of over 500 million people.