[FoRK] My visit to Ground Zero (and other musings)
jbone at place.org
Tue Nov 2 07:27:47 PST 2004
So I'm in Manhattan for a conference on quantitative methods in finance
at the moment and I'm staying at the Marriot Financial Center, about a
block from Ground Zero. I had been to NYC once or twice since 9/11 but
had never made it down to the financial district to see G0; got in on
an early flight Sunday, had some time to kill, wandered over... and am
somewhat surprised by my own emotional reaction to the site.
It was profoundly affecting, but not in the way I expected. I actually
found it *uplifting* despite the tragedy it represents. Construction
is proceeding apace and there's a since of order taking shape on a
scale that in some sense defies human comprehension. It's a project
that's bigger than any single human, any single human group; it
transcends individuals, individual philosophies, and individual lives.
It's bigger than the people that are working on it. In some sense it's
a testament to American - and human - fortitude, a statement to the
effect of "life goes on." They can knock us down but they can't keep
us down. Civilization triumphs over barbarism; the human spirit
trumps tragedy; and the perpetual game of increasing self-organization
of human technology and society moves ever forward.
I left the site feeling profoundly optimistic about basically
If you haven't seen the site and you happen to visit NYC, wander over
and check it out. I'm sure my reaction to it is idiosyncratic but
regardless - it's worth the effort.
PS - mandatory Election Day musing: I still believe that the hype and
the polls are overstating the closeness of the race and that Kerry's
going to walk away with this one, but... even if that's not the case
I'm at peace with the outcome. I've done my part and placed my bets.
If America is stupid enough to re-elect Bush, then we deserve the
leadership we get. In the unfortunate event that this happens, I think
this country - and the world - is resilient enough to make it another
four years. Hopefully, the recent worldwide regression to the
(irrational, societal) mean is merely a transient correction of the
situation in the 90s, and the overall trend of forward progress marches
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