Is Marijuana Legalization a Huge Win for Civilization? With Jason Silva.

Is Marijuana Legalization a Huge Win for Civilization? With Jason Silva.


Jason Silva: Well I think that what’s happening
now is a transformational moment here in American culture. I think the fact that the majority
of Americans now support marijuana legalization is a huge win for civilization, for mankind,
I mean for American society. It’s like not just for the sort of limitless medicinal potential
that cannabis has. You know cannabinoids have been shown now to even like shrink tumors.
I mean it’s an unbelievably therapeutically active substance. But also for the simple
issue of cognitive liberty, right. Sort of a country that is founded on the principles
of free thought and the idea that everybody should be able to think what they want to
think and do what they want to do as long as they’re not hurting anybody else. And
this is, you know, nowhere more exemplified than in the right to choose a marijuana joint
over a martini if that’s what floats your boat. Also, marijuana consciousness as Rich
Doyle writes is extraordinarily sensitive to the initial rhetorical conditions. You
know, Leary’s ubiquitous set and setting to the point that there is no drug by itself.
There is the context in which the drug is taken. And so when you change the cultural
context in which people are able to have marijuana you change the particular flavor of marijuana
consciousness. You start eliminating the association with
criminality and the paranoia and the fear of getting caught and instead you create a
canvas where people can smoke a joint before going to a boutique movie theater to have
a very increased cinematic immersion. Or you can create spaces where people can maybe vaporize
some cannabis before going and listening to a symphony orchestra. Or maybe they can go
on these beautiful sort of guided marijuana hikes where the set and setting would be curated
for a particular marijuana flavor. I mean it’s almost like the notion being that intention,
you know, you change the intention, you change the stage and that intention could actually
transform the subjective experience that people have when they participate in the use of cannabis.
And, you know, it’s just very exciting because I think that we’re going to see new forms
of entertainment, new forms of sort of – new cultural spaces for people to partake in what
they’ve been doing for hundreds of thousands of years which is altering our consciousness
whether it’s through external technologies or internal technologies. I mean mindfulness,
meditation, rave concerts, you know, Burning Man, theater. These are all technologies, techniques – rhetorical
technologies that capture and manage attention and are able to elicit transformational interpersonal
experiences. Only when we are immersed in some capacity, as Diana Slattery says, can
you mediate attention and can you actually have transformational, educational, interpersonal
experiences. And people pay money for that. They’re like here’s $20, you know, put
me in that IMAX movie theater and take me through a black hole and let me experience
Interstellar, you know, where the outer journey becomes a metaphor for the inner journey,
the external outer space interstellar becomes a metaphysical head trip. I mean we pay money
to be taken out of ourselves. We pay money to dissolve boundaries. We pay money to experience
intersubjective life worlds. And anything that helps us get there as long as it’s
not hurting anybody else it’s cool man. It’s cool. And so I’m interested. I’m
interested in what’s going to come out of that, you know, what this boutique high end
marijuana culture is going to create. The marijuana equivalent of the high end wine
bar or the really, really trendy scotch bar where everything from the lighting to the
music to the cups in which people drink the alcohol is created to create a certain mood.
What’s going to be the marijuana equivalent of that? A sort of highbrow experience for
esthetically minded types. There’s a great book by David Lenson where he talks about
the marijuana consciousness as one which creates this dialectical pattern of reconcilable estrangement.
So the first thing that happens – and again reconcilable estrangement with the world of
perception. So the first thing that happens is there’s an italicization of experience
by distancing you from the set of stimuli. It’s why, you know, why a sort of esthet
might smoke a joint before going to the Guggenheim. He’s going there to experience first an
alienation from the world of ordinary perception so things become novel, new and interesting
and strange. And then there’s a reconciliation with that estrangement. So the world is italicized. The world is seen as if for the first time.
And then right afterwards there’s a witnessing of that transformation and a reconciliation
with the world of objects so that the thing that is seen as if for the first time can
be regarded, can be revered. We call this sort of sacred consciousness archetypical
consciousness, you know. So that something like an ordinary scoop of ice cream represents
the idea of ice cream, you know. A piece of art, a sculpture standing in a museum hallway
becomes a sort of archetypical figure of man trying to make a statement using form and
function. I just think that what it does to consciousness is very useful because it provides
a change in perspective similar to when astronauts go to space and have a change in perspective.
What they call the orbital overview effect that transforms the consciousness of the astronauts
because they’re able to see reality, in this case Earth, from a different perspective
that creates an ontological transformation blasting new tunnels between the mind and
the other. So too in the world of everyday life people will be able to alter their consciousness
legally in a safe space and have that change in perspective that results hopefully in some
kind of transformation, heightened appreciation, increased compassion, increased wellbeing
and increased creativity. It reminds me a bit of that Stanford study on the subject
of awe where they described awe as an experience of such perceptual expansion or such perceptual
vastness that you have to reconfigure your mental maps of the world to assimilate the
experience. So maybe the first time you saw the Grand Canyon or the first time you saw
the IMAX film with the Hubble space telescope. And it turns out that awe, once it passes,
leaves us with all these increased feelings of bliss, wellbeing, creativity, compassion,
kindness, right. And so if we’re able to mediate and assist eliciting those sensations
of awe, in this case by legalizing marijuana in safe context then why shouldn’t we do
that? That’s what kind of excites me, you know. Just the notion that there are new modalities
of consciousness that we will be able to safely explore and inhabit.

100 thoughts on “Is Marijuana Legalization a Huge Win for Civilization? With Jason Silva.

  1. talk about loving to hear yourself speak. I happen to agree with most of his idea but damn he sounds like an a-hole.

  2. Problems are inherently going to arise out of the free use of a psychoactive substance, however allowing its free use could potentially solve more problems than it creates. I feel like Silva's point is right on the money on this issue. I've had a lot of good and bad experiences with cannabis and 99% of the bad experiences were due to having to always be so secretive about using it. That in and of itself is what changed me into somebody I wasn't and defeated the whole purpose of using it in the first place. If this social context did not exist, in my experience, the pros would far outweigh the cons.

  3. I love living in the Netherlands, might not be perfect but it's enough for now. Can't wait till the stigma is lifted and the miracle plant liberated.
    Big paper and pharmaceutical watch your backs cause you gonna take a big hit soon!

  4. The drug war has brought America to its knees. This is the first of many steps to fixing our problems, but it is still the first step.

  5. I just had an epiphany. I noticed this guy was talking really fast so I wanted to see what it would be like watching it at half the speed. A lot of times people sound high or drunk when you slow them down. It was amusing. Then I wanted to see how it would be at 1.5x the speed. Turns out you can still comprehend everything they are saying. If you don't have a long attention span for six minute youtube videos like this, just speed it up. I will be doing this for lecture videos from now on.

  6. At least we're discussing it in the context of actual possibility now. The president shakes it off in interviews as being a unimportant issue. You know what they're will always be more pressing concerns out there but that doesn't mean it should be ignored. Keep talking about it people. Continue to stoke the fire of public opinion don't let it die out again.

  7. ya know the arguments for legalization are pretty clear cut, delving into pseudo intellectual babble actually harms the argument….

  8. Over the last few years I’ve changed my mind from keeping marihuana as illegal as possible to allow it for medicinal purposes to allowances for recreational use …
    … but this guy is full of woo-woo bullshit. It’s the Deepak Chopra of marihuana.

  9. Watch his video on "Awe" (that he mentions towards the end). His rather charismatic personality works so well in that video.

  10. This is by far the most postmodern thing I've seen outside of the typical contemporary art gallery's bookshop, if that's what weed does to you we might need to seriously reconsider legalisation.

  11. Jason Silva you nailed it. Finally someone said what I have been saying over and over. Cannabis, part of the natural plant psychedelic community, has the ability to change the brain to allow a completely new, and "superior" conscious view of the world. This happens because the brain actually changes itself by moving more connectivity between left and right and creating new connections between neurons. This is pretty new stuff that is just being scientifically shown, but known about for thousands of years, and may be one of the MAIN reasons for human evolution. Mastering the consciousness is the path to enlightenment, and these plants provide a helpful hand to get there. We are a handicapped people, altered by a false reality of materialism. Through these plants, meditation, nature, and emotion, we can bring a major shift in consciousness…the shift. "Consciousness is like a shimmer of light through a dark forest you must navigate through"

  12. In Zimbabwe, the Shona people have smoked weed for thousands of years. It is taken to help men overcome fear on the eve of battle, together with some brotherly dancing. Oh yeah!

  13. I love how he is always marching at a hundred km/h, all these things sounds really good, but i think that 99% of the now legal cannabis use is going to be less interesting than the things he's going on about. Still, keeping an open mind here, we gotta have dreamers like this guy, in my opinion, cynical realists rarely dream up truely great things.

  14. no coincidence that he mentions meditation in his speech
    all that which he describes (the esoteric percepton of things), is what we need to do as humanity and while cannabis is the substance that is closer to that than what we consume today; we cn do it without it as well. Meditation is one way, change of thought patterns, spending time on different media that isn't mind numbing; all these contribute to that which will take humanity to the next level

    In general i'm in favor of legalising cananbis, however people should be aware of the drawbacks that it includes..
    personally i prefer sitting meditation because it exercises awareness both in the opening of the mind and in engaging it; i've found i tend to get lazy with cananbis

  15. Damn the guy can talk. I think the people that don't like him are just in deep regrets of not reading the dictionary as much as this guy.
    I usually have mistrust of people that can talk like that, and I had it with him at first, but then I realized that I agree with most of what he is talking about and it makes sense, and the things that I don't agree with is some of his opinions about mental states, but that is something that that I can't argue against because these things are subjective so I just roll with it.

  16. well, let's call that the philosophical approach. in reality you will find millions of unproductive people, stoned out of their tiny paranoid minds, fleeing their rather depressive and boring reality, ending up still living in this world, but more or less parallel to it and not taking part or notice anymore. not much piano, scotch bar high society going on there. but if you want to focus on the 0.5% minority then by all means… don't let reality crush that idealistic picture.

  17. Quick question…Marijuana is still bad for developing brains right? I'm about 2 years back from when I last seriously looked into legalization.

    I ask because this is my concern when people start just preaching this stuff. This man seems intelligent (and not just because of his vocabulary) but I know people will just parrot what he says and the studies they agree with, and that's problematic. Can weed be beneficial, changing perspectives increasing senses etc? Yes, for some to most people. But it can also harm others and lead/promote severe mental illness, as well as the aforementioned effect on brain development. Its not harmless, and too many people are in a fog about its risks, rare as they may be. Its a pyschoactive drug but people act like it's an herb no worse than thyme

  18. The energy he is giving off seems confrontational instead of invitational. The way he speaks, gestures, and talks about the topic just pushes.

    That he is that excited is awesome, but trying to convince others requires a bit of a different approach to presentation and discussion. 

    Good information, but the presentation was off.

  19. Everyone has a smart phone but no one wants to use it to do their own research. The amount of peer reviewed journals on the benefits of cannabinoids is ridiculous. Stop running on automatic and think for yourself.

  20. Potheads are easily fascinated and gets vocal when they think they have discovered something, kind of like my dogs. 

  21. I use to smoke weed every time I went thru  Monsanto's Journey thru inner space ride at Disneyland in the 80's.

    Thanks for the smoking spot and fun ride but I still ignored your ads at the end. You loose.  xDlol

  22. How the hell does this mostly have positive ratings? This was the most pseudo intellectual Big Think video I've ever seen.

  23. Someone sparked up a conversation with this guy on a subway and 3 people were hospitalised. That's some amazing gesticulation it's like he's literally trying to throw his voice at the camera. True story tho. 

  24. 100 years ago no one thought smoking was bad for you, everyone did it.

    now, no one thinks weed is bad for you, everyone does.

    100 years from now…. who knows?

  25. So…having a skewed view of reality will make reality better? Is that what he's saying? I'm not buying it. I see no benefit to society to legalize. I've seen too much destruction of property, relationships and responsibilities to ever agree with full fledged legalization. My only exception is maybe for medical reasons, but all studies I've seen have been too small to be conclusive and most arguments are anecdotal.

  26. I don't have strong opinion one way or another.  smoked when I was younger, but did some stupid things.  I don't know its harmful but also not sure I need it to enjoy life.  And I do believe it will be a complicated adjustment.

  27. If you think about it in the history all great artists or poets or writers and such have used substances that alters the consciousness and they have created unbelievable work that everyone, sober and with non altered conscious, has enjoyed and appreciated.
    The irony is that now you can creat mediocre work and the audience would appreciate the hell out of it because they would be all high 😀

  28. Corporation profit politics replaced Marijuana as the biggest addiction.
    Marijuana addiction is real in our world history because it is the population exploitation behind the scene. Religious addiction is real because religious languages become our thought and suppress our voice to communicate facts.

  29. Eh. I like the whole " stargazing is so much cooler when you're high." argument but you enjoy everything just as much sober. That's where real business is conducted. He compares smoking joints to drinking martinis, but being drunk in a movie theatre is never a good thing. Marijuana legalization across the board to expose the racial reasonings behind the whole drug war. Marijuana definitely is not some magical cure oppressed by the government. It comes with pros and cons just like alcohol. That's specifically why the legal age is 21. States figure you're done developing and can potentially abuse your system however you want. Watching a movie? Sure. Driving a car down a busy street? Definitely not.

  30. That was awesome. Some of his predictions on how marijuana will affect our culture might be a little verbose, but its still awesome.

  31. Setting aside most of his expansive conjecture on what he HOPES will be the result of marijuana legalization, I did very much like one thing.  As a musician, I know that a the "personality" of a piece of music can vary depending on the venue in which it is played (concert hall, amphitheater, coffeehouse, etc.).  Beyond that, historical evidence indicates that the use of drugs (particularly marijuana) can alter both the listener's experience of the music AND/OR the performers delivery of it.  As such, I am excited by the prospect of "new venues" in which to perform AND the idea that, as has also happened historically, composers will write music with specific "venues" in mind.

    Building on that notion of "changing the venue", if marijuana users no longer associated emotions like fear and rebellion with their experience, how much different would the experience be, AND how might their behavior in this new context generate an evolution with regard to society's perception of marijuana users as a whole?

  32. I'd love to try some and see if it helps me calm down in moments where my social anxiety leads to panic attacks, and also of course for the experience, but my social anxiety prevents me from trying to make the social connections required to find a reputable dealer. It's funny, because I live in NYC; you'd expect with the reputation New Yorkers have outside of our state, that I could find a seller easily on any street at any time.

  33. This…. this was beautiful. He explained it like no other person would/could ever explain the positive effects of MJ. Immediately LIKED this video.

  34. Nice try Silva… But there is several studies about the danger of marihuana… And most affected system, is the cognitve system (as contrary as u said)  with the memory, calculum, bla, bla… I know that meaby can improve ur creativity in the moment (and also makes feels high) but u will pay latter with lost of cognitive skills, amotivacional symdrome, adiccion, beheavior and mood relative problem, etc, etc, etc… And thats the reason because it is not a good idea to consume it

  35. Make a brand of weed that doesn't get you high and see if people still complain. If they do then you'll know they only want it legalized to get high.

  36. You know, if you're on Big Think, then at least make an effort to PRETEND to sound smart, enlightened, or like you can add something to the minds of other people.  This 'surfer dude' does not seem to fit any of these criteria.  Don't read me wrong, I am a huge supporter of marijuana legalization, but hearing this grown man talk like some sort of under-stimulated teenager ("It can even, like, shrink tumors man!") makes wonder what the thought processes of the people who put him on this screen were.

    Cannabis is an absolutely wonderful plant with many uses, no doubt about that. Just please try to catch yourself next time you hear yourself saying that you can build a fucking interstellar spaceship with it's leaves.

  37. This guy is annoying, and he seems to be being wheeled out as some kind of spokesman for psychedelics.

  38. Boring. It is just a coke enabled rant to justify pot for low IQ stoners. He thinks pot is a way to enlightenment  – well, it ain't. It only gives mellow lethargy followed by a day of feeling sad. Pot is a just a short-cut to fake experience of insight for the dim witted.

  39. I've fucking loved this guy since his first JRE podcast visit. Extremely well spoken and always has wonderful positivity cohesively fit to his arguments
     Great monologue, cheers Jason.

  40. I like how this man thinks america equals civilization and mankind. And, appearantly marijuana has no limit to its healing potential. Limitless, really? 

    Good to hear it can help against the cancer, also heard it had higher concentration then cigarettes of cancer inducing agents? Maybe different types of cancer and/or cannabis? More research, or less ambigious results would be useful.

    Choosing which your recreational hobbies is more liberating then being allowed to believe and think what you want? Just…so far off.

    That cannabis afficionatoes get the liberty to enrich and establish their own subculture is good though, no doubt. I'm also interested to see how their culture will look, from the high to the low.

    Alot of words without much substance follows, but he's excited I'll give him that. And it is refreshing to see a pro marijuana advocate be honest about wanting to get high and enjoy himself. Just wish he didn't sound like an idiot doing so. Really, find someone better to represent legalization as it's a huge issue for the US. It affects your economy, the lives of people who partake in it and people abroad who smuggle this in. 

    Get someone with better big think, please.

  41. I don't understand why there are so many hateful comments on Jason SIlva videos, his videos are amazing., if you don'y enjoy them, carry on.

  42. He sounds so HIGH, this peabrain says 64% of americans are in favor of legalization? In his circle, I guess 100%. Why this idiot is in youtube? Saying it is a win for civilization? I understand medically use is a good thing. But, having, (as this idiots say 64% of americans HIGH), kind of dangerous, no? And what about personality changes for using it, how about of the children born from parents who use it, that do not have a sense between right and wrong. This guy is the best example by the way. Ha, ha, ha!

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