Six Degrees of Awesome
finding the brilliantly inspired
Six Degrees of Awesome will lift humanity's gaze.
Six Degrees of Awesome is a long-term project. It will help expand humanity's awareness by connecting the world's most creative and inspired leaders. This community will be uniquely equipped to create powerful symbols which revitalize and broaden humanity's vision.
First, I interview someone and ask questions like:
- How do you define the word 'awesome'?
- When is someone awe-some?
- Where do you come from? And what values did your parents instill in you?
- Who and what inspires you?
- What books and movies where transformative in your life?
- What historical figures are you carrying the torch for?
- What do you hope to accomplish with your life?
- How would you like to see this project evolve?
- What do you think of the word 'God'?
- What questions should I ask future interviewees?
Then, I ask who is the most awesome person they know in the city. I interview that person and ask them the same question. I follow the recommendations, recording interviews with amazing people. After six months I move to another city and begin the process again.
Why explore 'awesome'? Why not another concept?
I would argue our capacity for existential awe is our greatest capacity as humans. Why does anything exist? Humanity's civilizations were experiments to encourage appreciation and exploration of this central question. A sense of this mystery fuels our religious, philosophic, scientific, artistic and poetic traditions. Or as Einstein wrote:
"The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.
It was the experience of mystery--even if mixed with fear--that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms..."
Also life is so short. We should contemplate the highest subjects while we can. This quote is above the southern exit of the central IMCPL Library:
"Time by minutes slips away
first the hour and then the day
small the daily loss appears
yet it soon amounts to years."
What will you do with all of the interviews you're recording?
Perhaps compile an inspiring book profiling these amazing people. Other possibilities include a radio series, a short film, and perhaps a regular newspaper or magazine column.
Contact me if you're interested in collaborating.
Could I help?
Perhaps. I need people who can thread dried macaroni on very tiny thread. Am I serious? You decide.
Why not interview people around the world by phone?
The interviews explore intangible topics. What is awe? What inspires a person? Body language is essential for this sort of conversation.
What equipment do you use?
Does this project have any precedents?
Not exactly. A Japanese TV show tried to find the most beautiful woman in Italy using a similar method. Studs Turkle recorded oral histories of people throughout society. And Crystal Beasley asked SXSW 2009 attendees to ask each other questions.