Atanu Dey On India's Development

Dancing at the Edge of the World

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The world of technology is magical. There are not enough hours in the day to even begin to scratch the surface of what amazing things that exist today, leave alone what is going to come down the technology cornucopia which is beyond imagination. You do get brief glimpses of tomorrow, occasionally. For instance, check out this Crazy Multi-input Touch Screen video clip. (Wait, don’t click on the link before you read the entire entry.)

At times one despairs about humanity, what with all the global terrorism, and the rioting, killing, destruction, and insanity inspired by a bunch of marks on pieces of paper. Some semblance of hope appears when you realize that there are billions of people who go about their lives without meaning harm to others, who would rather live and let live and if they can, enjoy the good things that the world has to offer.

Here is a glimpse of one such ordinary human in a little video clip titled Man Dancing.

I found it heart-warming and joyous. An average guy, Matt Harding, simply doing what he thought was cool. You can tell that he enjoys doing this crazy dancing all over the world. And then there are the positive externalities: you watch the video and it makes you smile for no particular reason. Dance, music, friendship, just plain joie de vivre. It is not high art, it is not heavy with meaning and significance, it is not pre-meditated, it is not produced to change the world, it does not pretend to send a message of global dominance, or complain about oppression. It could cause offense in some parts of the world but in the majority of the world, it is just a guy dancing.

Stop for a moment and think about what makes this possible. An average guy traveling around the world: the commercial airline industry. This could not have been possible a century ago. Next, the technology: a hand-held recording device cheap enough and small enough for an average rich nation citizen. This was not possible even 30 years ago. Finally, the global broadband communications network which brings you the video with the click of a mouse: not possible 20 years ago.

Yes, there is the mindless rage some express on being told about a few scribbles on pieces of paper but then there are billions of others who would express themselves in their own ordinary ways given the opportunity to do so and thus create what is truly extraordinary, truly human.

Back to the video of the dancing man: I thought the Kenya part was really funny because of the giraffe in the background. It appears as if the giraffe figures it has to get away from the crazy guy and high-tails it out of the neighborhood. Another thing I liked about the video was that it has one of my favorite songs by Deep Forest. That I don’t understand the words in the song only adds to its charm for me.

Note to those enraged by cartoons: get a friggin’ life, will ya?

Update: Saheli, my friend who observes and muses in Berkeley, just informed me of the original site Where the Hell is Matt? where the “man dancing” video is taken from.

Update: Jan 2013 — See another of Matt’s video’s here “Rabindranath Tagore: The Stream of Life.”