How We Free Ourselves of Existential Panic
JASON SILVA: I think that one of the things that we enjoy
the most as human beings is to lose ourselves
in an experience, to find ourselves
in a situation in which the gravity of the moment,
the weight of the now, is so powerful that we find ourselves
You become what you behold, so to speak,
so that our neurotic, inner critic--
the voice in our head that is nagging us,
anxious about the future or saddened by the past,
paralyzed by the past-- instead goes silent,
and there is grace in this moment.
The weight of the now in all of its gravity and splendor--
particularly in a preconfigured, epic context--
can serve to purge you of your angst.
This is a transformative experience.
I think when I come to a place like this, whenever
I put myself outside myself, I am able to pierce the veil.
I am able to see beyond my concerns and my constraints,
and I connect with something larger than myself.
It's something that we can all relate to.
It's something that we seek out, right?
And these moments, these moments do something to us
This is existential medication.
We address the existential panic, the ontological panic,
and we push it out of our minds.
Death goes from being an imminent panic
Thoughts of mortality dissipate, and we
get to inhabit some kind of eternal now-- immortality
now as we smash our sense of separateness in temples
of fragmentation in what Alan Harrington called
a form of electronic Buddhism.
It doesn't matter if it's the rave concert or Burning
Man or an opera theater or an IMAX screen or an epic
ocean-- the point being these vistas,
these contexts, these stages become rites of passage,
transformative experiences, moments of reconciliation.
We slay the dragon, we move forth,
and then the angst is gone, at least temporarily.