Each day, unbeknownst to many people, at least three individuals who made a difference in the world – in some way or another – lose their lives. Perhaps you did not know that William Glasser, the psychiatrist who was the pioneer of ‘choice theory’ died at 8:13pm today. Perhaps you did not know that Ronald H. Coase, who won a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, died on Monday at the age of 102. Or perhaps you did, but simply switched to the next headline without much of a second thought.
My IFTTT recipe takes data from the New York Times Obituaries section such that, whenever the page is updated, the blink(1) shines a white light that stays for 3 seconds before dimming. Ideally, it would be in a curious-looking street lamp placed in the center of the Central Park bridge, as bridges are often symbolic structures that connect the living and spiritual worlds. If the light gets triggered, it is likely that it will be during an odd time of day or well past the time the automated street lamps turn on. Some people may still dismiss the lamp and simply walk past it. But others may pause for a moment and wonder why this particular lamp, placed awkwardly in the middle of the bridge, illuminates for just a few seconds at random times of day.
The light in the lamp shines brightly for a few fleeting moments before going out completely, much like the nature of human life. It is a sign of respect for those who passed and – whenever people stop to look at it and ponder, if only for a brief second – gives the dead their moment of silence, serving as a beacon of remembrance.