The Beauty to Come

Thanks to a recent newsletter from Robin Sloan, I was listening this morning to this performance which was in memoriam of the September 11th, 2001 terrorists attacks in New York and Washington D.C. In particularly, I wanted to hear the world premiere of Disintegration Loops by composer William Basinski. The piece itself has an absolutely fascinating back story worth checking out as it gives even deeper context to this stunning work.

As I was listening, and ruminating, and pondering, and, at times, crying, by the end I was struck with a sense of profound hope.

During these equally historic times, we’ve lost so much. Not just so many people dead and jobs lost but also so many businesses and institutions that won’t survive the economic collapse caused by this global pandemic. And, it’s not over yet. In fact, in many ways, we’ve only just begun. There is plenty to mourn and much to fear. We remain in crisis and the future is uncertain.

But, one thing that is certain; much beauty will come out of this. It is true in nature and has been true throughout history. That out of tragedy and crisis, beauty always flows. Great art, music, writing, film, and theater always come out of times like these. Examples abound. The Bubonic Plague spawned Italian Renaissance. In nature, forest fires give way to new growth. The AIDS crisis of the 1980’s gave us Rent and Angels in America. In fact, the work linked above likely would not have occurred had it not been for the destruction, devastation, and loss of the 9/11 attacks. The story behind the Disintegration Loops work is itself a metaphor for this.

So, in a time when hope is so desperately needed and it seems we have so little to look forward to, perhaps it will provide some comfort to look forward to the beauty to come. I know it does for me.