Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What Separates Humans from the Animals

Who hasn't watched birds, and wondered what it would be like to fly? Me, I always figured skydiving would be as close as a human could get.

I was so wrong.

I love how the first guy comments that jumping out away from the cliff got boring. Which I can totally see, because yeah, having all that space around you as you streak through the air at 100 mph would be so dull. As opposed to streaking through the air at 100 mph an arm's length from solid rock.

Anthropologists argue about what separates us from the animals. Language? Music? (It isn't tool-making or self-awareness; those got shot down a while back.)

You know what I think it is? Whatever thought process it is that leads somone to say, I want to fly. I can't fly. How do I fly? I know: I'll invent a wingsuit and then I'll put it on and jump off a cliff. Maybe I'll fly, maybe I'll crash. Let's find out.

It's just so like a human being. Reckless and creative and visionary and stupid, and from the safety of my couch, it warms my geeky heart. Crazy people, fly on!

What about you? Do you see this and say, Man, I wish I could do that! Do you think it's cool but you'll just sit back and watch, thank you very much? Do you think people who do stuff like this are certifiable?


Melissa Amateis said...

I watched this video last week and couldn't believe how COOL it was. Would I ever do it? Probably not! Looks way too dangerous. But then have that sensation of actually

Anonymous said...

I saw these guys on some Discovery or Nat Geo show or something. AMAZING. Like I've said before, when I get on the edge of a cliff I get kind of a rapture where I think I might maybe be able to fly...and then take a big step back. So maybe I was born to do this, huh? Or....maybe I'll just watch.

Anonymous said...

And, by the way, must be a REALLY short learning curve. Learn...or die.

Laini Taylor said...

Oh my GOD! That's insane. How very very easily they could die. I would LOVE to be able to fly, but only in the fantasy sense, the sense that I would magically have wings and have the control that a bird does. Or else, a magic power. But no, I would never jump off a cliff. Never!!!! It's beautiful to watch, though. People are pretty amazing!

Anonymous said...

I think what makes humans unique in the animal kingdom is that we are 'the storytellers'. We pass our wisdom on to subsequent generations more efficiently (by several orders of magnitude) than any other species.
I see activities now and say to myself "I could do that. That'd be fun" FAR more often now in my twilight years than I ever did when I was young. Also, dying whilst doing some of these things wouldn't bother me all that much. "I do not fear pain or death" is kind of a new thing for me, but there it is. I suppose I am certifiable. And ye3s, those guys are certifiable.

Christine Fletcher said...

Melissa--there's no way I could do this, but I agree, it rates an 11 (on a 10 scale) on the CoolMeter.

Sally--good thing you always step back! And I was thinking about the learning curve thing myself. Could you really fly from, say, a bridge's height, or do you just go for the cliff? And how do they get up there, anyway? Questions, questions!

Laini, I'm with you--NO WAY, but I love to watch it. And it just reminds me that no matter what's on the news, human beings as a species can be pretty cool.

Walter, I think I have to disagree with you on the passing-down-wisdom thing. Yes, we are storytellers, but we're also amazingly good at forgetting our own history and repeating the same mistakes. We can't get away from our own natures. But--as the video proves--our natures have some fabulous aspects. Interesting that you're more daring's one thing when we're young and think we'll live forever, quite another when we're older and realize we're mortal. A good way to be, I daresay.

Anonymous said...

It is totally cool, but it's not for me. I can't stand heights.

Sadako said...

I totally want to do stuff like that but I'm so risk averse!

It also reminds me of that viral video, Kiwi!