Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Do We Desire Danger?


Do we, in general, harbor a deep-seated desire to be in danger? Along the course of any given day, your mind might lead you down various streams of thought, and this is where I was a few days ago. Consider all the violence in our media – the ongoing obsession with monsters and horror especially. Thrill rides; bungee jumping; hunting; diving. (Driving I'd imagine, if you live where I do!) What all these seemingly unique activities share in common, is being completely optional, and carrying an element of danger.

I wondered to myself: why do we enjoy feeling our lives – or somebody's - are at risk? Isn't flirting with death counter-intuitive? Perhaps being reminded of our mortality is the unspoken appeal. There's so much in our “sophisticated” contemporary existence that can leave one feeling a little less than alive at times; these moments might be our subconscious wake-up calls. They may even be a throwback to earlier times when life was a little more raw, and not quite so “refined”.

Personally, I experience such thrills each time I choose to commute to work on my bike - alongside larger, louder vehicles, whose pilots act as if I don't belong, and often convey this sentiment in so many ways. Perhaps such activities serve to jolt us into maintaining a sense of alertness, awakeness, and awareness. Maybe confronting the possibility of losing life causes some of us to appreciate it all the more. Or: it could just be mindless entertainment. Whatever the case may be, it's a very real phenomenon, and crosses many cultures.

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