Daily Archives: June 26, 2007

The Beauty of 10,000 Monkeys

A few weeks ago I said I’d come to realize the universe is awesome, and that I’m trying to see another aspect of that every day. Case in point, last night I was traveling back from Brooklyn into Manhattan, and while crossing the Williamsburg Bridge glimpsed out at the skyline.

And it’s awesome.

It got me thinking – no one planned that skyline — it happened organically. Sure there were zoning laws and some impassioned people who tried to influence the architecture, but in general it was commerce (and some say greed) that dictated how it was built. Think about it – People like Donald Trump (a man I don’t particularly associate with beauty) were part of it, and so were thousands of other (sometimes less than sympathetic) people. Yet, almost impossibly, a scene of elegant beauty rises before you as you cross the Williamsburg Bridge.

It’s the real world equivalent of 10,000 monkeys randomly writing Hamlet, only this time it really did happen.

Mankind produces things of great horror, sadness, and pain. You can see any of them without looking hard. But, if you look harder, you’ll find we produce amazing things that are way more than we ever thought we could create. For example, New York’s skyline, the view you see from an airplane descending into San Francisco airport on a clear night, or the amazing child that your goofball friends from college are raising.

Our ability to unexpectedly produce beauty through group effort is worthy of awe. And I feel grateful to be alive to feel awe for it.