Race
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In order to survive and get out of the canyon - you have to cut your own hand. It is unlikely that Aron Lee Ralston could have imagined that this…

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Risky fun for the sake of

Between us, to jump from a bridge 100 meters high, it’s not necessary to have great abilities. There is enough desire to experience mortal fear. You will also need a long elastic rope that needs to be tied to the legs, and – hurray! Head into the abyss. Just like James Bond.

Is it that simple? Sure. This proves the very popularity of “bungee jumping”, as rope jumping from dizzying heights is called: they have already become fashionable in California, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, becoming a new stunning attraction, accessible, however, for everyone. In Jamaica, for example, such a jump costs only $ 20. Where there are no high bridges, the tops of cliffs hanging over the sea, or gigantic trees, are used. As a last resort, they might even throw you off a helicopter – if you agree to pay well.

“Bungee jumping” gained particular popularity in France, where it is practiced everywhere. In Normandy, one jump costs 480 francs, but if you want to jump for the second time, they will give you a 10 percent discount and also will be awarded a memorable prize – a jumper from above. For an additional fee, the death trick in your own performance can be captured on a photo or video tape.

What is “bungee jumping”? New sport? Not at all. For now, at least. Because there are no strict rules, judges and sometimes even spectators do not exist. Records, if set, are not recorded by anyone. Most likely – this is a kind of psychological test, a challenge to yourself … just say – a daring trick, where there is a risk of breaking your neck. Who knows, perhaps, craving for such entertainments is inherent in each of us? Otherwise, how can one explain that, as soon as it appeared, “bungee jumping” so quickly gained masses?

And yet, why so many people, regardless of age and gender, give themselves to risky amusements that promise only one consolation: if you are lucky, then your parents will not have to collect your bones. What makes a person risk their lives, rushing headlong into a kind of entertainment?

The sociologist Luigi de Marqui suggests: “Man, here is the poor man, the only creature who realizes the inevitability of his own death. And now let’s think about our era, when the classical means – religion and ideology – that helped people to overcome the fear of death, no longer work, and with the thought of death, the person remains face to face. But, as the poet John Donne said, everyone has the freedom of choice: to turn his head or raise a sword. In other words, a person wants to use the opportunity to challenge death, or rather, the risk of death. And what looks like amusement in appearance is actually a kind of death spell. ”

Nothing new under the sun: whether it be rope jumping or dueling with swords, the essence over which philosophers of three millennia have been struggling remains unchanged: who the hell am I? Where the hell are we going?

The English writer Norman Douglas asked himself the same questions when one morning he woke up from a severe hangover – not knowing where he was and where his money was – in a prison cell in Venice after a bet – who would get drunk. Well, at the beginning of the 19th century, such bets for man played the same role in self-affirmation as risky amusements today. True, to those eternal questions that did not know about the outcome of the dispute, Douglas added two more that in our market pragmatic times sound no less relevant: how much does it cost? Whom to pay?

The money issue for new-fangled hobbies is far from unimportant. The answer to the last one (who should pay?) Is simple: there are no sports or insurance funds ready to develop this “sports” direction. Who pays – he jumps.

Another question (how much is it?) Has a vague answer: differently. Depending on the type of fun. The cheapest among them is “free climbing” (free climbing): without any insurance and special equipment, the daredevil, just clinging with his bare hands to the ledges of a steep rock, crawls up as far as he can. True, in order to find such a rock with which it is easy to fall and fall, you have to go to the mountains, pay for the fare, for hotel accommodation and so on.

Climbing under the stream of a high waterfall is very popular in the USA and Australia: a long rope is fixed somewhere on the top of the waterfall, then along the rope, overcoming the stream of water falling on your head, you climb up, praying to God that you will not be washed away.

Enthusiasts on inflatable rafts master the frenzied mountain rivers of Africa and American canyons, like on a roller coaster, slide down from waterfalls, and mortal fear adds even more acuteness to this attraction created by nature itself.

Relatively inexpensive, but rather risky pleasure – wood-climbing – invented by the French mountaineer guide Pierre Grischelli, is practiced in Corsica’s forest parks. All the equipment of the woodpecker consists only of boots with spikes and a pair of sharpened hammers. The poison frog climbs at once along two trunks of trees growing nearby (the left arm and leg cling to the left trunk, and the right to the right, respectively).

ARON LEE RALSTON 127 HOURS IN FRA
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