Learning from Corcovado

| Tags: Creativity, World

Things have meaning. A statue overlooking Rio has a lot of meaning. Like you, I have seen this image a thousand times, the figure of Christ overlooking and protecting the city of Rio. On this occasion I spent the afternoon and evening at Corcovado, at the base of the statue. The light shifted, the clouds swirled and the statue would be hidden in mist then, momentarily, revealed in the sun. When the sun shone on the statue the assembled crowd, several hundred devout Brazilians, would cheer.

There was a wedding ceremony, a young man proposing marriage to his girlfriend with their friends in attendance, fathers holding their daughters aloft on their shoulders, arms outstretched, a prayer circle and a constant parade of smartphone photographers lying on their backs to photograph their friends, likewise with arms outstretched emulating the statue’s pose in the background.

Things do indeed have meaning. Sometimes the meaning is transformative and inspires, other times it is trivial and fun, but this is what we do, we give meaning to things. A statue of Christ protecting a city like Rio is not trivial. It is part of the fabric of the city, it gives meaning to the city itself, adds pride and is a reminder of the history and culture of the city’s inhabitants. The Statue of Liberty does the same thing for New Yorkers, it is a reminder that all are welcome to live freely in the USA and, in partial consequence, New York is the most international city on earth. Here in Rio Corcovado represents the divine within us, reminds us that the material is impermanent but that the human spirit is about love. It adds to the joy of Rio, a city with many problems and yet more joyfulness than most other cities I have visited.