I recently watched the movie about Philippe Petit’s miraculous tight rope walk between the Twin Towers of New York in 1974. The movie is wonderful, telling the story of Phillippe’s friends and their preparation as well as the actual walk — 45 minutes long in which he danced and cavorted 110 stories above lower Manhattan. An awe inspiring impossibility that came true. The Frenchness of Phillippe and the honesty of his approach to life shines through. Its a pity that no motion pictures where made of the walk but the stills are glorious.
(Image obtained from Wikipedia.)
When asked — over and over again — why he did it, he replied “there is no why. He reminds me of another favorite Frenchman of mine Henri Cartier-Bresson who said he was an anarchist. Him who found order everywhere he looked. But it was an aesthetic he said and perhaps a way of life. I think its the same for Phillippe.
A few days after I watched the movie a brilliant pilot — Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger — landed his plane in the Hudson river and all 155 on board lived to tell the tale.
So a question presented itself — are these two events linked in some way? Aren’t they both impossibilities? Don’t they defy the same laws of nature — gravity, chance, probabilities? Which is more impossible? Which required more skill? Which is more anarchistic?
What do you think?