reasoning. The moment of pulling the ripcord to save oneself is sometimes so intense that, for some,they faint just as their canopy opens and remain unconscious for part of the flight down.
None of Deinzer’s subjects experienced complications, though.
Hearing instructions via radio sets intheir crash-helmets, they were guided toward the landing strip, where most were able to glide instanding up.
However, this wasn’t a “Do this once and check it off the bucket
list” day. Instead, they had to do it
. Deinzer had asked each person
to make three separate jumps that very day: after they’d
landed, they chewed a sponge and waited their turn to go back up. For some, they did all three jumpswithin the span of a single hour.Why did they have to jump three times?Deinzer was also interested in whether people habituate to the rush of skydiving
do you get used to
it, such that it doesn’t trigger the
same degree of blast?
Analyzing the jumpers’ saliva samples, Deinzer wasn’t surprised to
learn that they had a huge rushresponse to the first jump. But with each subsequent jump, the rush was reduced by about a quarter.By just the third jump, there was still a pronounced rush of stress, but (on average) it was now only
half the first jump’s intensity. It was more
akin to the stress you get from driving in slow traffic that’s
making you late.Apparently, hurtling to the earth in a free fall is something you can get acclimated to, rather quickly.Now, there are many people who go skydiving frequently and love it. But if repeated skydiving
doesn’t reliably trigger a massive surge in
s the ongoing appeal?Stephen Lyng is a scholar who studies
a term borrowed from Hunter S.
description of anarchic human experiences. During the 1980s, Lyng was a jump-pilot at a localskydiving center. He contrasted what he learned there from skydivers with what he learned later bystudying car racers, downhill skiers, combat soldiers, and business entrepreneurs. Lyng eventuallyconcluded that the true
“high” of skydiving, and other edgework, stems from the way skilled
performance brings control to a situation most people would regard as uncontrollable. All of thesafety rituals used to minimize the danger (in situations of extreme risk) engender this sense of control, but
edgeworkers’ fundamental skills are the ability to avoid being paralyzed
by fear and thecapacity to focus their attention on the actions necessary for survival. The feeling of self-determination they get from
conquering the risks is the real payoff. It’s not pure thrill they seek,
butthe ability to control the environment within a thrilling context.
compare parachuting against . . . ballroom dancing.
Hunter S. Thompson would never have described ballroom dancing
as edgework. There’s nothinganarchic about it. It’s not an “uncontrollable”
situation. Death is not a potential outcome.About 280 miles northwest of the previous study, this time near Dortmund, Germany, there wasanother scholar also interested in the psychoendocrine cocktail induced by vigorous experience.