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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Intelligent Design

Creationists often use one of the three classic arguments for the existence of God: that of Intelligent Design, going back centuries. In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas argued that natural things act to achieve the best result, and as they cannot do this without intelligence, an intelligent being must exist. William Paley in 1802 used the watchmaker analogy to argue that complexity and adaptation in nature demonstrated God's benevolent and perfect design for the good of humans.

When I look out onto a vista like the one in today's photos, I am reminded of the watchmaker analogy. New Yorkers may not be godlike, but certainly such things that lie before me must be evidence of an application of industriousness and ambitiousness, not to mention our own brand of intelligent design. And seriousness. Many say that it is important to have a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at oneself, even disparaging seriousness as a veil. We have quotes such as:

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow. Oscar Wilde

Seriousness is stupidity sent to college. P. J. O'Rourke

There is truth to the concept that levity, humor, and not taking oneself too seriously at times is important. However, as a New Yorker, I prefer:

It is not so important to be serious as it is to be serious about the important things. The monkey wears an expression of seriousness which would do credit to any college student, but the monkey is serious because he itches. Robert M. Hutchins

In France, although a sense of humor exists, it is very important that a person is considered sérieux in the right way about the right things. The exact meaning includes an element of sincerity. New York City is not an easy place. People come and go, passing through the revolving door in the house of shattered dreams. In reality, it is brutal here, and a life of levity is not going to get you through that door. 

When someone champions a sense of humor above all else and makes a point that someone is too serious, I question what might be achieved with such a lassez-faire attitude. Good or great things cannot be left to happenstance. Look at that New York City skyscape and all the great things this city offers, not just its architecture but also the culture and people those structures house. To survive and flourish like this city has, at least in this case, someone was sérieux and there had to be some Intelligent Design :)

Related Posts: 'Tis a Sight to Behold, I Know, New York Rockies, Where Sleeping Giants Lie, No Sir, All of These Pleasures, World Domination, Contrast, Etched in Stone, Towers

1 comment:

Mary P. said...

A big part of the problem in NYC is that there IS NO design (planning.) These buildings pop up like mushrooms, designed within themselves, but with not much regard as to their site. The street grid is the only attempt at design discipline.