The ‘Stupid Dance’ Which Proves That Being Human is Amazingly Awesome
Check out the latest video in the ‘Where the Heck is Matt?’ series and be reminded why it is wonderful to be part of the human race. People are capable of doing extraordinary things that make life just a little bit more special. And thanks to today’s amazing technology, we can make extraordinary things happen.
Dancing Around the World and Making it a Better Place
I’ve just watched the latest video in the ‘Where the Heck is Matt?’ series, and it reminded me why being human in today’s world is such a wonderful experience. If you haven’t watched the video yet, check it out here:
As you can see, this is a video of Matt Harding dancing with a bunch of different people in various locations around the world. It’s the latest in a series of videos about – well, about pretty much the same thing.
Matt is not particularly noted for his dancing skills. Yet more by accident than design, he has created a global phenomenon that unites people around the world to dance, just for fun. For over a decade, people have flocked to join him in destinations all over the planet for no reason other than to be part of something special.
There is something uniquely human about this. There is no other species on the planet that could even contemplate creating something as extraordinary as this global coming together of individuals, just for the sheer joy of it all.
The whole ‘Where the Heck Matt?’ story is gloriously pointless in essence, yet in practice it manages to achieve a real purpose. Because it’s not about the dancing – not really. It’s about human beings of all nations and nationalities uniting to share the joy of being alive and human in the 21st century.
And that’s what makes it all so amazingly awesome.
From Humble Beginnings to Global Phenomenon
‘Where the Heck is Matt?’ started without any great ambitions whatsoever. It all began when Matt was touring Vietnam with a friend back in 2003. The friend said, ‘Hey, go stand over there and do your stupid dance. I’ll film you.’
That ‘stupid dance’ led to another ‘stupid dance’ on video, and then another. When Matt started sharing them online, they went viral and the whole thing started taking on a life of its own. Since then, Matt has been doing a worldwide trip every two years or so, filming clips in locations in dozens of countries. And with each trip, more and more people want to join him and take part in the dancing.
The videos have racked up over 100 million views on YouTube alone, and the numbers are getting bigger by the day. So what is about Matt’s ‘stupid dance’ that has inspired so many people? There are lots of explanations, but for me personally, here are the reasons why ‘Where the Heck is Matt?’ is so awesome:
The Joy of Dancing
Why do we dance? Quite simply…because it’s fun!
This is one of those peculiar characteristics that makes human beings unique. For sure, there are some animals that dance as part of a mating ritual, with a clear end goal in mind. But people mostly dance because it gives them pleasure.
We dance because it allows us to express how we feel, to channel our happy emotions into an activity that we can share with others. It doesn’t matter whether you are performing an elaborately-planned Tango, or just going crazy and doing a Matt-style ‘stupid dance’ – human beings are unique in the way that we seek out things that are fun to do, and make space in our lives to enjoy them. Dance halls, discos and night clubs all thrive on this peculiar human desire to just get up and ‘do your thing.’
The Magic of Music
We generally dance to music, and this is a special human quality, too. Unlike any other species, we have figured out how to control the random quality of sound and channel into something that is incredibly pleasing to the ears.
And we are able to do this in so many different ways. From a Beethoven symphony to an AC/DC rocker, and from an Adele ballad to the sound of a didgeridoo, we have truly tamed sound and harnessed its power. What an amazing achievement to create a piece of music that inspires you to tap your feet, sing…and get up and dance.
Another amazing benefit of being human is the extraordinary way we love each other’s company. We come together not just for protection or other practical reasons, but simply because we love to be together.
Matt’s videos are an amazing example of this aspect of being human. People travel great distances to take part one of these videos, even though there is no practical reason for doing so. They do it simply because the want to share the experience.
Technology – the Great Enabler
‘Where the Heck is Matt?’ would not have been possible even a couple of decades ago. The whole phenomenon depends on the technology of our amazingly-connected world. It is only possible because of the cameras that record the videos, the YouTube channel that shares them, the Internet hardware that links so many people across the planet, and the communications systems that allow us to interact globally.
It is wonderful to be human, full stop. But it is truly wonderful to be human in the extraordinary world we have created in the 21st century.
Investing in a Shared Experience
Over the years, ‘Who the Heck is Matt?’ has evolved considerably. Nowadays, the global tours required to make the videos are financed through Kickstarter. People contribute to the cost of making the tour happen, and in return they get the opportunity to choose where he goes, and to join in and do their own ‘stupid dance’ in the one of the video sequences.
This is human creativity and sharing in action. Platforms like Kickstarter are facilitating a whole range of events, products and happenings that would just not be possible without today’s technology and innovation.
Showcasing the Positive Side of Humanity
Human intelligence makes us very powerful. However, power can always be used for both good and bad.
We see the bad side all too often. You only have to check the latest news bulletin to hear an ongoing horror story of war, conflict, suffering and cruelty. That’s the negative side of human intelligence – we regrettably use it to self-inflict wounds in a way that dumb animals never do.
But the other side of the coin is all the good that we do. We have developed the technology to cure cancer, the negotiation skills to end wars, and systems for helping those who need support the most.
Matt’s videos are symbolic of this positive and inspiring side. We see that humans can also do wonderful things for no particular reason whatsoever. We dance because it’s fun, we get together because we enjoy each other’s company, and we share cool things because it feels good to involve others in the things we love.
That is what it means to be human; to come up with a gloriously pointless idea, and somehow transmute this into a phenomenon that is far from pointless – one that inspires people to sing, laugh, and (most of all) to get up and dance.
Watch and Be Inspired
If you haven’t seen all the videos in the series, then go to Matt’s YouTube channel and check them out. I think they are all great. But if you want a little inspiration to get your day off to a great start, then you can hardly do better than watch this one. It’s my favorite – music, dance and lots of people, all doing a ‘stupid dance’ in perfect harmony: