“Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity.”
This week, Ben has challenged us to show “Infinity” – not a simple task. I’ve chosen the night sky as one of the best examples I can imagine. Above, we see the brilliant city of Shanghai, China casting its lights up to compete with the stars. Below, the night sky over Hong Kong.
“Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Life seems enchanted after all.”
Vincent Van Gogh
Both cities are are beautifully positioned on the water with active, bustling harbors. Both are known as world financial centers, and since Hong Kong was returned by the British in 1997, both are Chinese. Interestingly, this presents China with a bit of a conundrum.
“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite.”
Because the Chinese have tremendous pride, they want very much for Shanghai to be the finest city in the world. However Hong Kong was for many years a world-leader under British rule. Should Shanghai greatly eclipse it, the world could say – ‘The British gave Hong Kong back to the Chinese and they ruined it’. On the other hand, should Hong Kong outshine Shanghai, the world could say – ‘Well it’s a world leader, but only because of the British’. Quite a quandary, isn’t it? Then again, what’s so bad about having TWO of the leading cities in the world? (With one of them looking like a modern-day OZ / Emerald City if you ask me!)
“Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”
Shanghai is the largest city in China, and the most populated city in the world. In addition, it is the world’s busiest container port. Hong Kong has one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world, and in 2012 was designated by both the UN and the World Health Organization as having the longest life expectancy in the world. (Note: Hong Kong, although part of China, is governed by completely different political and economic laws from the mainland). Each is unique and each has its own strengths.
There is one area however, where they are very different. Shanghai is relatively new to its leadership position, while Hong Kong has been an international center for commerce since the 1800s. This has created an environment of dramatic old vs new contrasts.
“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
In the photo above, for example, we are looking from Hong Kong across an open area to the Chinese mainland. The structure in the middle is indicative of life in days gone by, while the city in the distance illustrates China’s incredible growth in the modern world. Below, two further examples of modern vs historic Hong Kong.
“In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”
For me, both cities are truly beautiful, magical places of infinite possibilities. To see how some others view “infinity” click here.