Look around yourself right now, and pick any physical object. Pick any normal every-day sort of thing that happens to come to mind. Now think of that thing not just in the context of itself, but in the context of all human history. Now go beyond and think of it in the context of the history of the universe. In the proper context, even some crummy YouTube video becomes absolutely miraculous.
To demonstrate what I’m talking about, I will use the example of this cute YouTube video.
Ok, it’s a cute and catchy computer generated song and dance number, not too miraculous on the surface. Sure, it’s fun, but it’s nothing earth shattering. That may be so, but if you think about the entire history of this video is epic.
In Japan in 1941, twin girls were born who later became the ver popular singing duo The Peanuts. If you’re not Japanese, you might know them as the twin girls from the Mothra movies. At one point in their illustrious singing and acting careers they performed the song in this video, Koi no Fuga, on Japanese television. I think it was part of a New Year’s special. The video of that performance has been removed from YouTube.
Much more recently, a Japanese singing and dancing duo named W performed this song to a choreographed dance, which you can see here.
In 2004 Yamaha released the initial version of a software program called Vocaloid. Vocaloid is very cool. It allows someone to control a virtual singing voice. It allows you to map the fundamental elements of human speech patterns to a musical score. From that, it will automatically generate an audio track performed by a virtual singer. Each new version of Vocaloid has greatly improved this virtual singer, and also changed their voice. For marketing reasons, they create a new virtual idol character to represent each new singing voice, the most popular of which is Hatsune Miku. The girls in this video are another Vocaloid character, Sakine Meiko.
Vocaloid characters, and Hatsune Miku in particular, are so popular that some fans in Japan have created a free program called MikuMikuDance. MikuMikuDance is a 3D animation program which makes it relatively easy to create animated videos of computer generated models dancing. It’s specifically built for Miku and other Vocaloid characters. There is even an option to load Vocaloid files into the program itself, and it will automatically animate the model’s mouth to lip-sync to the song.
Now look again at the first video I posted, and think about it in the context of all these things. The Peanuts, W, Vocaloid, MikuMikuDance, YouTube, etc. Think about all of the things that had to happen, and did happen, in order for that video to exist. It goes deeper, though. Think about the futher miracle of you actually watching the video. The rabbit hole goes much deeper.
You’ve got to add in the entire history of the human race, specifically as related to science and technology. Without electricity, transistors, the Internet, GPUs, or a million other things which are miracles in and of themselves, this video would not be possible. This video is Japanese in origin, and if World War 2 had gone differently, this would probably not exist. If some character designer at Yamaha had changed his design, this video would likewise be different than it is.
Let’s take it a step further. Think about the entire lives of all the human beings involved in the making of this video. If the Peanuts had grown up in a different circumstance, they might not have become stars and performed this song. I doubt they wrote the song themselves, so think of the song writer. The two girls in W were formerly of Morning Musume. Think about their entire lives up until the point of making this video, and how under a different circumstance this might have not come to be. Think about the life of the people who created the MikuMikuDance application, and the life of the person who actually made this video.
Now branch it out even further. Think about the parents of The Peanuts. Think about the lives of all the people around them who made their career what it was. Their friends and family. Two girls singing a song is a huge production. There were many people who made that possible. And the same goes for W, Vocaloid, YouTube, or any other component you see here. You have a huge group of people contributing to any individual component, and each individual person in each group has a long chain of human ancestry that resulted in them existing and living their life the way they lived it.
And of course, before any of that, you have the history of the Earth, specifically life on Earth, and the history of the Universe. Everything from dinosaurs to evolution to the black plagueÂ in some way made this cute little YouTube video that you just watched.
While you are thinking about how miraculous that YouTube video is, why not think instead about something like Star Wars, The Empire State Building, or a Formula 1 car. If you examine all things from a universal view across all space and time, you can not help but see the absolute awesomeness of everything, even the things that suck.