We are flawed

One of the appealing factors of vinyl, as opposed to digital, is the surface noise: the warm pops and crackles that develop over time as a vinyl record is being played. These imperfections are not part of a freshly pressed record; instead, they are a testament of the record deteriorating as a result of the turntable needle caressing the grooves in the vinyl over and over again.

Similarly, if you pluck the A string on a guitar, what you will hear will be far from a perfect 110 hertz waveform. Instead, the sound will be distorted by the imperfections in the string surface, the invisible cracks in the wood, by the humidity of the air, the reverberation within the guitar’s body, and by the consistency of glue that’s holding it all together.

But we love that sound. We not only love it in spite of being imperfect; we love it precisely because it is not perfect. Ask a computer to play you a tone that’s exactly 440 Hz and you will get annoyed and shut it off before even ten seconds are up, but press the same key on a grand piano and the result is beautiful.

Maybe somewhere deep down we recognize that the Universe is chaos, and to that chaos we owe our whole existence to. I think our complete human experience is owed to the fact that we’re flawed. After all, aren’t music and other forms of art direct expressions of that fact? We not only love a fellow human in spite of them being imperfect, we love them because of the tiny scratches and cracks on their surface. That’s how we know that they lived, and in the fact they lived, we see a reflection of ourselves, and of the rest of humanity.