I want to be able to adapt to any lifestyle, to truly and ineluctably ration myself for the experience of life in all its forms. This travel is not for pomp and leisure. I do not travel looking for fun. Although a minimum of happiness keeps me on the road, I do not travel for happiness either.
I travel because I want to personify my belief in art as an expression of truth. Minimalism, movement as principle, adaptation in order to truly understand a different way of living or world view. To share in the lives of people with a mind as objective as it will permit without sacrificing passion...
The World Wonders, or Wonders of the World, depending on how romantic you wish to sound, refer to 7 different sites around the world that have been deemed worthy of such a title by an initiative begun in 2001 called 7NewWonders. There are many different lists, from the Ancient Wonders of the World to the New Wonders of the World, but this new list has been taken as the ultimate authority on the matter of "wonder". This article seeks to find out why Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue is considered a World Wonder.
Which are the 7 New Wonders of the World?
Let's start with the Wonders of the Ancient World, actually. The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World is a list of 7 grand monuments created thanks to the writings of ancient philosophers and travelers from the Hellenic area of the world. The list includes the following: the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Of those in the list, only the Great Pyramid remains standing.
The New7Wonders list includes: India's Taj Mahal, Mexico's Chichen Itza, Christ the Redeemer, Rome's Coliseum, the Great Wall of China, Peru's Machu Picchu, and Jordan's Petra. Now, if you consider the list carefully, you should come to the inquiring conclusion of: Why the hell is Christ the Redeemer on the New7Wonders list?
How the New Wonders of the World were Chosen
The New Wonders of the World are consider thusly because they were voted for. That's correct; the 7 wonders are only labeled as such because they won a popularity contest. The Wonders themselves are excellent examples of human ingenuity and design, to be sure, but the fact that they were voted for has resulted in many, many worthy sites being deemed "not wonders". The vote has also resulted in a farce: Christ the Redeemer on Rio de Janeiro's Corcovado Mountain should not be among the New 7 Wonders of the world. I sit here on a terrace looking at Rio's iconic Christ statue. I wonder about it, and consider the exorbitant price they charge to enter. I wonder why it costs so much, and realize that it's thanks to its label as a "Wonder". Christ the Redeemer is the result of a good public campaign to garner votes. Voting was by telephone and online, and they say there was no way to control repeat votes. Brazil is a country of 200 million extroverts, and the fact that their Christ the Redeemer won shows that.
Comparing Christ the Redeemer to Other World Wonders
What makes Christ Christ the Redeemer different from the other wonders? Well, let's take a peek, shall we? Chichen Itza is the third largest pyramid in the world, constructed by the Maya in perfect alignment with the stars to elicit a meaning far beyond the obvious grandeur. Rome's Coliseum was the grand Roman capital of the gladiator, and the largest such stadium in ancient times. The Taj Mahal is a dominating white structure that creates a true sense of awe for all of its millions of visitors. The Great Wall of China stretches for thousands of miles and boasts the fact that it's the only distinct human structure visible from space. Finally, Petra is a city built directly into the rock with age-old tools, and its main facade is alone quite remarkable.
Then, there's Christ the Redeemer. It's the world's third largest Jesus statue, and was only built in the beginning of the 20th century. It's a rather simple structure both in its engineering and design. The only thing that's somewhat remarkable about it is its perch atop Corcovado, which offers the best views over Rio de Janeiro. However, it hardly deserves a title which places it among the likes of the latter "Wonders".
Other Finalists for the World Wonder Competition
Just to put things into perspective, the following monuments, based on this semi-official competition, are not "wonders", while Christ the Redeemer is: the Eiffel Tower, Hagia Sophia, Kiyomizu-dera, the Alhambra, Angkor Wat, the Acropolis, Stonehenge and Timbuktu.
Why do We Need Wonders?
It's one of the fallacies of the human condition that we need things to be ordered for us. We can't simply accept that so many wonderful things exist; no, we need to vote. We need to open the discussion to millions of people who have never left their countries and don't have any idea that Christ the Redeemer, for example, is nothing compared to the Coliseum. Unfortunately, here's yet another campaign by New7Wonders, as if the 7 New Wonders and the 7 Natural Wonders wasn't enough, we now must dilute "losing" competitors by choosing 7 cities. So, this article might be attacking the fact that Christ the Redeemer is on the list, but the take-away lesson is really that, the New7Wonders lists should not even exist.
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