In Assassin’s Creed, the player must synchronize his mind with the memories of an ancestor to become enlightened in the way of the Hidden Ones. The anime Shaman King requires the best shaman fighters to achieve 100% integration with their ghosts. Dance Dance Revolution, one of the most successful video game franchises in history, is all about perfectly mimicking a sequence of dance moves.
Flow is synchronization. When we chase the perfect line across the track, be it virtually or in Formula 1, we are sweating to achieve an ideal. We show up and ask the muse to descend, for we can never achieve full sync by our own hand alone. Sometimes she does. Sometimes she doesn’t. The game remains the same.
Extended perfection is a myth. A carrot dangled from Mount Olympus by the gods, just beneath the clouds so we can see it, yet forever out of reach. Occasionally, the carrot drops from its string, and we glimpse a miracle. Senna laps four drivers in one wet-track opening lap. Chris Martin elevates 100,000 Brazilians to a higher plane in one song. These are flukes. Glitches in the Matrix. They’d only lose their spark if they weren’t.
The impossibility of flawlessness is no reason to slump in your seat and let go of the wheel. It is reason to try very hard, for the fun lies in the chase, and to be human is to feel the flow of synchronization – the kind of sync that, even when achieved only partially, leads to the shareable blessing we call art.