How about this drawing by a six year old kid in the after-school program at Rowe Elementary where I work?
They are stencils, and he decided randomly on two colors. He may have just laid a big stencil down and colored them all in at once, or they may be individual stencils. Either way, he made random choices, and random choices go on to give meaning to a viewer. I wrote some earlier and tried to list the things in the picture that were interesting to me, and why. I talked about things like placement and color and shapes. I had a theory that the composition is dominated by what is missing (especially from the stegosaurus, the triceratops, and the unknown one at the top) and the ambiguity of the missing makes it both thought-provoking and pleasing to the eye.
These are fine ideas, but that six year old wasn’t thinking about any of that. He just did it and gave it to me. I am talking about composition and placement and colors, when in reality the kid just slapped it down and made it without thinking about what it means or why it’s fun. The randomness makes it even more interesting, and what happens randomly is far more important in life than any premeditated decision we ever make.
The important stuff in my life is tantamount to arbitrary: moving from college to Chicago just because I had some friends here and I liked improv, friends I made here as a result, whom I’ve dated, and when, based entirely on timing and/or how we met, the people I’m close to from college. In fact, anyone in my life that I have or do continue to love who is not in my family, is random. Each one of them is a human soul who is totally arbitrary and could have entered earth in any number of other vessels born at the exact same second. Or without getting metaphysical, any one of them could have randomly gone to a different school in the second grade, putting them on a path to never know me as an adult. Every person in my life is so random, it’s unbelievable.
We choose to be around people who understand us, make us feel at home. They might be from the same hometown, or went to our college, or just have similar speech rhythms that allow for connection. We likely shared a harrowing/fun/partying/random experience that solidified our trust in each other long long ago. Having things in common or enjoying any initial connection with someone is a random process. What if that person had been a little more tired, or withdrawn, or bored at the crucial moment when we were getting to know each other? All of a sudden we’re back to being acquaintances.
Being close to people is so important for us as humans. It makes or breaks our lives, makes us feel fulfilled or unfulfilled. Even if we’re not super communally minded, most people will be happy when feeling loved by or connected to others. I’m always the happiest when I’m around and connected to people i love, especially if we happen to be laughing really hard about something. I like to think I am responsible for being part of the equation that is making me feel so good. But in reality, it’s largely at random. Sure, I have a say in continuing towards people I enjoy, and the community I keep, but their original acceptance and continued participation is completely arbitrary, as far as I can control.
Yet, that doesn’t make it any less fulfilling. The randomness does not invalidate the meaningfulness. The fact that something happens, by happening, validates it’s own happening-ness. It creates it’s own meaning and life becomes more fulfilling. Like everything that happens in life.
So I think the picture is interesting, because it is. It is randomly exactly how it should be. Consider these dinosaurs.
 In fact, there’s a pretty frequent phenomenon where a kid will have paper and markers and be drawing and after like five minutes I go up to ask what they’re doing, s/he’ll say, “I made this for you.” And it seems super random, and not at all like they were planning that until the second I asked them what they’re doing. However their reaction is virtually identically what I’d expect if they had planned it, so I of course am glad and say yes. It doesn’t change the fact of the experience more than an ounce.