By Michael Apter
Why will we decelerate to examine automobile injuries? Why may wealthy humans shoplift? What attracts humans to parachuting, army provider, and sadistic intercourse? those are only a number of the questions this booklet unravels in its research of our paradoxical liking of hazard.
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Extra resources for Danger: Our Quest for Excitement
4 subjectively no immediate likelihood of trauma, whereas in the danger zone there is a possibility which increases subjectively the nearer we get to the dangerous edge. 4, is about the way the individual person sees the world, and not the way in which it is seen from the outside by someone else. So, by “trauma” is meant what would be traumatic to the involved person; how great the safety margin is at any given time is the distance away that the individual perceives possible trauma to be; and which zone the individual is in at any given time is entirely a matter of the way in which the individual experiences the situation.
To say that the individual is in the danger zone means that he or she is aware of the possibility of trauma. Because these three types of zones are to be understood entirely subjectively, they may be more or less accurate in objective terms. For example: while driving, we normally feel that there is a solid margin of safety between us and the edge of the road. In fact, it is very small—in most cases a fractional turn of the steering wheel could mean instant mutilation, or death. Similarly, cars speeding towards us on the other side of the road miss us by only a matter of feet.
As the moment arrives for presenting the paper at the conference itself I feel increasing anxiety, which generally peaks at about the time I start to speak (subjectively the moment of greatest threat). 076 22/08/2006 34 12:36 PM Page 34 DANGER But at some point after this I find that I become fully absorbed in the whole task. And eventually a moment arrives at which I switch over to the excitement-seeking state and feel pleasure from the arousal I am experiencing. This may well continue until someone asks a difficult question, thus bringing about a switch to the anxietyavoidance state and actual anxiety.