Base jumping, wingsuit, bungee jumping - with the help of these new sports people are trying to overcome weightlessness. Why is he so eager for the impossible?
The story of how Helen Keller overcame her childhood disability is still one of the most famous in the field. After suffering an illness, she became blind and deaf at the age of one and a half years. The 19th century was ending, and everyone thought that in this state she would stay for the rest of her life, if she did not die in childhood. However, thanks to her own efforts and the work of her educator Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller has become a writer, politician and famous public speaker. She passed away at the age of 87, having lived a fulfilling life. She expressed her way of confronting illness with the following phrase: "Life is either a dangerous adventure or nothing."
Most of us live a quiet life with little spikes. The pleasure of taking risks and accomplishing feats cannot be categorized as ordinary sensations. Therefore, many seek to experience them through extreme sports. Some are already engaged in well-known sports such as parachuting, surfing, mountaineering, motocross, paragliding.
However, with the help of new sports, the thrill is achieved much faster. For example, in bungee jumping, participants, tied by the ankles to a long rope, jump down from a platform that is at a height. In limbo skating, riders in a bent position pass under cars, preferably standing.
Wingsuit is a type of parachuting in which the athlete glides in a suit with membranes that resemble wings, while developing speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour.
Oddly enough, although man has felt the need for adrenaline since its inception, those who practice extreme sports are considered eccentrics. Many people probably remember the accidents with celebrities involved in risky sports, without considering that the likelihood of death for celebrities and ordinary people is much higher when they just move by car or plane.
The need for thrills is currently being misunderstood. If someone wants to experience them, then he is immediately labeled as addicted to adrenaline. But several decades ago, the concept of "addiction" was applied in relation to people experiencing such an acute craving for certain substances that it caused them withdrawal symptoms. Pain, nausea, overexcitation of the nervous system were typical of its manifestations. Using this term, those who felt an irresistible desire to receive this substance were considered sick by society. It was believed that these people are not able to independently control what happens to them.
However, in recent years this concept has become broader. It is no longer necessary for withdrawal symptoms to be present. Addiction is talked about when someone likes something, but at the same time others do not like it. We always mean activities that please those who are fond of them, but at the same time do not enjoy the approval of a certain part of society. Therefore, no one is labeled as “addicted to good grades” or watching football TV programs, but they can easily be called addicted to sex, sports or social networks. Thus, a person who enjoys these activities is credited with not being in control of himself. But when we listen to the stories of those who have experienced these extreme sensations, we begin to understand that they are in great control of themselves.
Chef Darío Barrio is one of those who enjoy the vitality that these sensations provide. If earlier he was engaged in marathon running, now he is fond of base jumping, a type of parachuting (jumps are carried out from a height of 500 meters). “When you jump, you experience a very strong sensation, but you definitely control it. This is not a senseless risk that depends on others or on fate, not Russian roulette,”says Dario Barrio. Through all his stories, a common thread runs the thought of acting intelligently and necessarily controlling the situation: “The point is not at all that we are tired of life. We're not teenagers who go crazy. In general, we do not really welcome those who take unnecessary risks, just for the sake of courage. Before we make a jump, we make sure to thoroughly check everything."
The main argument against the glory of extreme sportsmen is of a physiological nature. Biochemical research proves that we all enjoy adrenaline. It is not alien to people who lead a measured lifestyle. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said: "Trust me, the secret to the highest efficiency and pleasure in life is in the sense of danger." And the poet Thomas Eliot noted that "only those who risk going too far can discover what distant places they can reach." Depending on the amount of adrenaline and other substances that make up the "hormonal cocktail" and the "psychological label" that we stick to the experienced sensations, we will already make a decision about whether to go deeper into them or not. But physiological pleasure will always be there.
Catecholamines (this group also includes adrenaline) are neurotransmitters built into the cerebral compensation system. These hormones cause the physiological euphoria that a person experiences after going through a difficult test. However, the psychological complexity of a person turns this feeling into something deeper: it is not necessary to experience it, it is enough to anticipate. The goal of physiological desire is not satisfaction, but prolongation of the process, and the release of adrenaline is currently associated more with the expectation of cerebral compensation than with the moment of physiological euphoria itself. Dario Barrio describes this state of expectation very well: “You float in the air for one minute, but you enjoy the whole preparation process. Packing equipment, for example, is a whole ritual: you are the only person in charge, because you rely only on yourself. I feel very comfortable when packing my gear. Although it is difficult, I really like the process itself, I kind of anticipate what I will go through. " But if we all release adrenaline in these kinds of situations, then why do some people like it and others not? If we understand the brain compensation system, we can understand the cause.
Physiologist Hans Selye discovered the mechanism of stress, or general adaptation syndrome, two decades ago. We are talking about a set of nonspecific reactions of the body to emergencies. Its goal is to mobilize energy reserves in order to overcome this difficult situation. As the most typical example, we can cite the reaction of a person who is at an altitude of a thousand meters and knows that he is now going to jump.
When we anticipate this stressful moment, two almost irreconcilable systems are activated in our body: the sympathetic-adrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal systems. The first, being activated under the influence of the hypothalamus and the amygdala, causes the release of adrenaline and other hormones, thus providing the body with energy. For example, in order for a person to join the fight, begin to defend himself, run out headlong or jump if he is doing base jumping. To get our bodies up and running, the system increases our heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, sending significant amounts of energy to the muscles. This is the anxiety phase during which the person is filled with vitality. If the body's response was only to release adrenaline, then such an activity would cause a feeling of pleasure in all people. But in parallel, another system is turned on: the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system. Acting slower and longer, it eventually releases cortisol in the adrenal cortex.
Thus, we increase the concentration of glucose and lipids, reduce the immune response, and stop all functions of restoration, renewal and formation of tissues. That is, we introduce the body into a state of rest, expectation. We feel anxious because we see danger in front of us. It is also a necessary adaptive response, as cortisol is a hormone that builds our emotional memory and helps us identify dangers to avoid in the future. So, we all experience a sense of fear to a greater or lesser extent.
The difference between those who jump and those who do not jump is partly biological. Some people produce so much cortisol that stopping certain functions prevents them from enjoying these sensations. Others believe that the cessation of certain functions is overcome with the help of the pleasure that induces adrenaline. Many studies point to the importance of these genetically determined biological variables. An example is an experiment led by Ulf Lundberg, which largely revealed the relationship between motivation and the brain chemistry of positive stress, or eustress.
A group of volunteers was given a difficult mental challenge, and the experiment found that those with higher catecholamines did the best, while those who feared failure secreted cortisol. There is also a feedback loop here: those volunteers who had low cortisol levels passed the test more successfully because they remained self-possessed, calm, and focused.
But, in addition to physiological, there are also psychological factors. The same Hans Selye identified two types of stress: eustress, which encourages us to take action in order to respond to a challenge, increases attention, interest, instills a feeling of confidence, trust and optimism, and also mobilizes the body and increases its adaptive capabilities. On the other hand, distress, that is, a negative form of stress, is characterized by feelings of anxiety, despondency, insecurity, and a feeling that we are not strong enough to resist the threat. We define a feeling as eustressive or distressing based on our past experience (how we felt during our last extreme situations), upbringing (parents who tried to keep everything from everything), from how much we think we are in control of the situation and from confidence in ourselves. If we find ourselves in an eustressive situation, positive sensations compensate for it, but if it is distressing for us, then negative correlates of stress (fear, insecurity, discouragement) will prevail.
Dario Barrio describes it as follows: “There is something that prompts you to jump from a great height. It happens all of a sudden: I started parachuting in 1995 and then became interested in base jumping. As you start to enjoy it, this sport becomes more and more exciting for you. Of course there is fear, but it is a controlled fear that helps you stay alert. " The brave chef believes that there should be two different words to describe this condition: one will denote uncontrollable fear, and the second - tense anticipation. He believes that these are different states.
“Before the jump, I am in a state of tense expectation. Otherwise, what am I doing then? But then, when you have everything under control, the risk gives you about the same pleasure as delicious food. He should be enjoyable, because it is extremely important for the preservation of the genus. It compares with the feeling of a pioneer, adventurer. " For those who strive forward, such conditions mean much more than just an adrenaline rush. We are talking about very deep inner sensations. People who go in for extreme sports usually have a pronounced motivation for achievement: they like to overcome difficulties without expecting any reward from this in the form of money, power, etc. Therefore, it is said that achievement motivation is essential because it is stimulated by the kind of occupation that brings satisfaction. Climbers are a prime example of those who enjoy these sensations. Their motto can be considered a phrase that expresses this thirst for sensations in five words. In the 1920s, climber George Mallory was constantly asked why there are people who want to conquer Everest. He replied to this: "Because he is standing there." Of course, extreme sports have a positive impact. On the one hand, such an experience helps to know oneself better. Trance states reveal our capabilities to a greater extent than everyday life. At critical moments, we turn on mechanisms that we ourselves did not even know about. As one saying goes, "no one knows where the weather vane will turn until the wind blows." In moments of danger, we mobilize our inner resources that make us stronger, such as self-observation (to better know our strengths and weaknesses), a sense of humor (in the movies, you can often see how a person who has been in many alterations makes jokes when entering into confrontation with villains; this helps him to optimally use his capabilities and improve his state of mind) and self-control.
It is also very important that while engaging in extreme sports, people leading a busy working life forget about the problems of the surrounding reality. Dario Barrio says: “Base jumping helps me to forget about everyday life. I think it is very important for us, who work so hard, to live several lives, to play several roles. At some point I am a cook, and then I become an extreme sportsman. To do this, you need to concentrate well, and then you can better see your second world. I work within four walls, and I am very happy when I sometimes manage to leave them and plunge into the air."
A strong sense of unity with those who go in for extreme sports with you also plays an important role: “I jump with Carlos Suarez Armando del Rey. In a short time, you experience very tense moments, a very close-knit brotherhood arises: you met someone who understands you, who has the same DNA molecules as you. And it unites very strongly."
But perhaps the most important thing is the feeling of charm, amazement and delight. Dario Barrio says: “Since childhood, I dreamed of flying. There is a whole sea of philosophy here. You ask the same questions as a man lying on his deathbed. Have I done something in this life or was I just a puppet in the hands of other people? You feel very small when you fly from a big mountain. You understand that you can crash, you know that if you make even the slightest mistake, you're finished."
Barrio says that he really likes to proudly answer the question of when was the last time he did something for the first time. past experience. You feel like you're alive, so I'm sure Leonardo da Vinci would most likely be doing base jumping. Yes, and Leonardo da Vinci himself, in one of his most famous phrases, expressed all the feelings that a person experiences during the discovery of something new: “As soon as you experience the sensation of flight, you will always walk the Earth with an upward gaze, because you are there already visited and wish to return again."
In 1914, Sir Henry Shackleton published an announcement to recruit volunteers for an expedition to Antarctica. The text read literally the following: “Men are required for a dangerous journey. Low salary. Very coldy. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. There are no guarantees to return alive. Recognition and honor in case of success. " It is said that, despite such a strange proposal, the researcher received more than 5 thousand applications. Of these, he selected 26 people who went with him on an expedition on the sailing ship Endurance, perhaps the most famous in the history of sailing.
It is possible that all this is fiction, but in any case, it reflects the nature of people who went on one of the most risky journeys in the history of mankind. Today's culture, which often emphasizes only the pleasure that these people derive from the risk, forgets what they risked. She also does not remember that the discovery of America, the landing on the moon and the exploration of the poles of the Earth became possible thanks to them. Moreover, it is likely that it is to them that we owe that we have become human. Because the first monkey to come down from the trees must have been a big adrenaline lover.