Last weekend, a fascinating act in the history of humanity played out on Reddit.Please do read the article, it is worth it for the GIFs alone.
For April Fool's Day, Reddit launched a little experiment. It gave its users, who are all anonymous, a blank canvas called Place.
The rules were simple. Each user could choose one pixel from 16 colors to place anywhere on the canvas. They could place as many pixels of as many colors as they wanted, but they had to wait a few minutes between placing each one.
Over the following 72 hours, what emerged was nothing short of miraculous. A collaborative artwork that shocked even its inventors.
Each pixel you see was placed by hand. Each icon, each flag, each meme created painstakingly by millions of people who had nothing in common except an Internet connection. Somehow, someway, what happened in Reddit over those 72 hours was the birth of Art.
But working alone, they could only place one pixel every 5 or 10 minutes. Making anything more meaningful would take forever -- if someone didn't mess up their work as they were doing it. To make something bigger, they would have to work together.
Here is the progression over 72 hours.
And here is the final image after 72 hours of entirely unplanned (at a central level) activity.
The author of the article concludes:
Many millenia before Place, when humanity itself was still in its infancy (the real one, not the one on Reddit), Hindu philosophers theorized that the Heavens were made of three competing, but necessary, deities that they called the Trimurti. They were Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Protector, and Shiva the Destroyer.
Without any single one of them, the Universe would not work. For there to be light, there needed to be dark. For there to be life, there needed to be death. For there to be creation and art, there needed to be destruction.
Over the last few days, their vision proved prescient. In the most uncanny way, Reddit proved that human creation requires all three.