Brain Food #763
The world's hidden harmony
Thoughts of the day
Continuing with the theme of awe today, and another act that can eventually lead to this sense of amazement and wonder: doing something in unison with others.
Dancing is perhaps the most obvious example, whether it is watching a mesmerising show or joining others on a dancefloor. Dancing combines music and rhythm, which “find their way into the secret places of the soul,” as Plato said. In fact, making music or listening to music with others, as part of an audience, have also been proven to be sources of awe.
Any kind of group activity can lead to this feeling: exercise, singing in a choir, watching your favourite sports team. This makes me think of everything the pandemic took away from us, and how these experiences strike deeper chords in our psyche than we think.
But the act of zooming out, both metaphorically and literally, reveals a different truth: we do things in unison all the time.
There is a hidden harmony in the world, both in its natural parts and the parts we have built with others. Of course, there are nature’s spectacles, such as the murmuration of starlings in the video below. But looking around us, at the subway train that arrives at a predetermined rate to carry people to where they need to be, or the traffic moving through a city at the pace of its traffic light system, all these form a truly amazing urban dance that we are part of on a daily basis, even if it can be the source of many of our frustrations.
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