The Albert Einstein quote "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere" aptly sums up the point NatGeo's hit show Brain Games tries to make. Our brains interpret information and influence every millisecond of our lives, yet the average person knows little about the most important part of the body.
That's where University of Miami alumnus and Brain Games host Jason Silva comes in. He kicks in the door with so much brain-related knowledge delivered in such a poetic fashion you have no choice but to be intrigued. Silva uses the show as a vehicle to take you on a journey to places you may have not known existed. The fifth season will include six hourlong episodes in his exploration of topics such as the seven deadly sins, God, survival, hidden senses, and the complex regions of the brain and how they age.
“Brain Games is a walk through our senses, uncovering the powers of our minds that we never knew existed,” Silva says. “With this new season, we ambitiously embark on ‘mind missions’ to spark new ideas and reveal new possibilities, awakening us to the awe-inspiring borderland between illusion and reality.”
Silva's journey began at the University of Miami, where he majored in film and philosophy. "It was amazing," he says of his time at UM. "It allowed me to combine my passion for eclectic ideas with filmmaking." Silva's two worlds came together for his first hosting gig on a show for Al Gore's network, Current TV.
Apart from his role with NatGeo, Silva may be best known for his viral YouTube series, Shots of Awe. Throughout the videos, Silva poetically discusses how our brains interpret love, among other things. "Love is biochemically no different than a cocaine addition. It's a dopamine rush. We do crazy things when we are in love. But that's also what is sublime about the experience. The ups and downs of love are a biochemical rave party in our heads."
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Silva's interest in how humans experience love has resulted in a successful TV career. "I've always been curious and hungry for answers. You could say I was born an existentialist," he jokes. "Shots of Awe was a passion project that combined digital filmmaking with philosophy, and those videos have led to everything from a global speaking career to hosting Brain Games."
The host believes most people are likely unaware of just how awesome our brains are. Each person experiences the environment in a different way, thanks to the mushy pink stuff in our skulls. "We don't experience the world directly at all," Silva explains. "In fact, our brain receives very limited information from the world, turns that into electrical signals, and then 'fills in the blanks' so that essentially our brain co-creates our world!"
Silva expects new viewers to discover some surprising things about how the brain functions, and returning fans of the show will continue to be satisfied, he says. "Brain Games audiences can expect to have their minds blown with insights into how their brains misperceive reality. It's is a reminder that what you see is not what you get."
Season five premieres Sunday, February 14, at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.