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Are risk takers more important than others?


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#1    pantodragon

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:49 PM

A famous mountaineer said that he thought people were, basically, wimps.  He suggested that as a risk-taker, he should be paid a stipend by the government for setting a good example to the rest of society.

He made me think of Bear Grylls.   I have never understood what the saying “to cause a fight in an empty room” meant until I saw a Bear Grylls survival programme on tv.  The “empty room” was the great outdoors, and what Grylls did was to pick a fight with nature and call it “survival”.  It seems to me that is what this famous mountaineer was also doing.  To make a living, he goes around picking a fight with mountains or cliff faces --- I mean, really!!!  If nature could speak (actually, it does, but no one is listening because they are so intent on picking a fight with it) I wonder what it would say.  I mean, I know what I feel like after a session on these discussion forums when I’ve just been savaged by the forum rottweilers, so does nature feel the same, I wonder.  Does nature ever feel she has been pulled through a prickly pear plant backwards?  Does she feel she’s constantly being put through the mill?  Does she feel she’s constantly on the defensive?  No wonder the woods where I live have a jaded end-of-season look by mid-August.  When you are quietly minding your own business just getting on with life but folks won’t stop picking a fight with you, it’s hardly surprising you feel jaded.  I mean, how would you feel?

The current battleground locally is rhododendron.  It is receiving a savaging from the local rottweilers too.  Actually, the battle front is more like people’s gardens.  They wage a constant war against nature……..but let me return to risk-taking….

These mountaineers that pick a fight with rocks and mountains win great accolades (otherwise this one wouldn’t have been a guest on Desert Island Discs).  They are, apparently, extremely brave.  But this is double standards, isn’t it?  I mean, the child in the school playground who goes around picking fights with the other children is called a bully and condemned as a coward.  Yet pick a fight with nature and you are hailed as a hero.  Honestly, there’s no justice in this world.

Climbing Everest is held to be a particularly brave but risky thing to do.  I used to visit Germany frequently and one aspect of the country I particularly liked was that everywhere there were cafes and restaurants.  So, I spend several hours wandering up a steep path among the sandstone cliffs of an area in Sächsische Schweiz.  Of course, I am taking the “tourist route”, whereas the bravehearts, the mountaineers among you, go the hard way, the risky way, the macho way, they climb the cliff faces.  Obviously, then, I am a wimp --- but better a whole wimp than a wimp with a broken leg or a cracked skull, I say!  Anyway, my exertions were making me hungry and thirsty.  I thought my next meal was several hours away, yet when I reached the top of the cliff, there in front of me, and not a mirage, was a restaurant!  Now, as far as I am aware, there is not yet a restaurant on the summit of Everest, but I do believe that services are improving every year and it won’t be long before there is one.

In fact, I heard it rumoured that there was to be a funicular railway built, for the same reason they built one on Cairngorm.  The wimps take the funicular railway to the summit of Everest.  Once there, they cannot leave the immediate area and wander about, because too many tourists means too much erosion and the area is already too fragile.  If you want to be able to walk to the actual summit of Everest (or Cairngorm) you have to eschew creature comforts and walk up from the car park at the bottom.

The next risk I am going to take is submit this to a forum from which I know it will not come back unscathed.

Have you ever taken any risks?  Do you think that the mountaineer is right, that people generally do not take risks?  Do you think risk taking is commendable?  What are your opinions generally on taking risks?  Are risk takers more important than others?


#2    TSS

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:59 PM

No one is more important then anyone else. Risk taking is an essential part of human nature - mountain climbing is just one small facet of it, and is beneficial for the individual involved (in terms of personal goals) and society at large when you learn something about the human body, or survival.

When you went to Germany, i'm assuming you flew there? an invention brought about by risk taking! Or maybe you drove, and invention brought about by risk taking.

We all benefit from risk takers - and it's not 'picking a fight with nature', it's challenging yourself to achieve something within the confines of nature.


#3    Frank Merton

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:04 PM

Risk takers generally fail more often than they succeed.  More prudent folk also take risks and succeed more often.

The successes are paraded and celebrated; the failures forgotten.  This creates a biased sample for us and we need to be aware of this bias in our assessment of the value of the behavior.


#4    ouija ouija

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:57 PM

Thank you pantodragon for another good topic :clap:

As a sweeping generalisation, I would say that risk-takers are a bit of a plague on society :lol:

I am generally not a risk-taker ....... when I do take risks I weigh them up carefully first.

What, in all the world, could I do to earn my living and still live as myself, as I knew myself to be? Temporary masks, I knew, had their place; everyone was wearing them, they were the human rage; but not masks cemented in place until the wearer could not breathe and was eventually suffocated.

#5    shrooma

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:09 PM

there's also a cafe at the top of Mt snowden in wales, where a captive audience is charged £2 (last time I was up) for a cup of tea.
but the top of everest is a plateau of around 10ft, nowhere near big enough for people to mill around, build a restaurant, or a train station.
anyone going up everest on a train would die from altitude sickness due to the rapid descent, so a train would be an impossibility.
*savaging ends*
as sky said, no-one is more important than anyone else.
except maybe Batman.

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#6    White Crane Feather

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 06:45 AM

Bear is not what he appears to be pento. Not that he is not a badass.., I like him, I even have one of his knives. But mountain men do not pick fights with nature .... Trust me. They understand the rythems of nature and create a niche within it.

I once whatched bear in one of his episodes come to my neck of the woods in which I am intimately in tune with. He was traveling between zones in hours, and missing the boat and the spirit of the land entirely. Bear has/is not challenging nature... In reality it would kick his ass. Not that he is not very charismatic and probably a good guy.  If you want to challenge nature, pay for your confine ahead of time. If you want to understand her, and work with her, spend some time alone in the wilderness at the very very least a week every six months.  I'm not talking about camping. I'm talking deep solo excursions.

As to risk taking.... I do it everyday when I drive across town, a started my business at 23 11 years ago in sept, I also have a degree in economics witch pretty much exhaults the entrepreneur.

You will never know the cage fighter with the wicked snake tatoo across his chest hits like a pillow and earned his muscles at 24 hour fitness unless you step into the ring with him. Of course he could hit like sledge hammer to... Thus the risk.

Edited by Seeker79, 19 June 2013 - 07:00 AM.

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#7    pantodragon

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:25 PM

View PostSky Scanner, on 17 June 2013 - 03:59 PM, said:



When you went to Germany, i'm assuming you flew there? an invention brought about by risk taking! Or maybe you drove, and invention brought about by risk taking.



Don't get me started on the subject of the risks taken by scientists and engineers!  A wall of text will seem meagre compared to the outpouring on the subject of GM foods, GM anything, nuclear power stations, environmental tamperings...........


#8    pantodragon

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:37 PM

View PostSeeker79, on 19 June 2013 - 06:45 AM, said:



I once whatched bear in one of his episodes come to my neck of the woods in which I am intimately in tune with. He was traveling between zones in hours, and missing the boat and the spirit of the land entirely. Bear has/is not challenging nature... In reality it would kick his ass. Not that he is not very charismatic and probably a good guy.  If you want to challenge nature, pay for your confine ahead of time. If you want to understand her, and work with her, spend some time alone in the wilderness at the very very least a week every six months.  I'm not talking about camping. I'm talking deep solo excursions.


My experience of nature is the same as my experience of travel: dangerous or otherwise is dependant on the traveller.  Treat the world in general and nature in particular as a friend, and you will be fine.  Treat the world in general and nature in particular as a potential threat, as dangerous, and you will encounter problems.  This world is NOT anything like as dangerous as its reputation suggests --- that is, if you are not dangerous yourself.


#9    pallidin

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:54 PM

Life=Risk vid...




#10    Arpee

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:25 PM

"Importance" is about perspective. It all depends on how you choose to look at it.

"Risk Takers" are more likely to achieve more and are also more likely to get hurt in the process.

"Non-Risk Takers" are more likely to achieve with a few desires and what is necessary for survival.

They both have their advantages and disadvantages.

"But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." - Luke 6:35

#11    pallidin

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:36 PM

Would you care to elaborate on what your opinion is on what the advantages of a "non-risk" taker are?

The reason I ask is that, in my opinion, I see no advantage at all.


#12    pantodragon

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 03:12 PM

View Postpallidin, on 20 June 2013 - 07:36 PM, said:

Would you care to elaborate on what your opinion is on what the advantages of a "non-risk" taker are?

The reason I ask is that, in my opinion, I see no advantage at all.

A risk-taker has to focus on dealing with risk, on surviving.  A non-risk-taker is free to think of other things.  If you are pre-occupied by threats and dangers, then your mind will not work well at other things.  For example, if you are in a haunted house you will be so pre-occupied by the dangers that you will be unable to think clearly or remember well,  Indeed, your mind will be working way below par and some functions, those not required to deal with danger, may be switched off entirely.


#13    Beany

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 04:47 PM

In extreme sports, the body releases a chemical, dopamine, I think, that causes a sort of euphoria and sense of well-being. It might be that those who regularly engage in high-risk behavior continue to do so because they're addicted to the flood of chemicals. There's all kinds of high-risk behaviors that aren't necessarily life threatening, but it's the high-profile behavior & people that get a lot of press. The world needs a diversity of people in order to function at all; I happen to think that emergency personnel, EMTs, firefighters, cops, doctors, etc. are as important if not more so than rock or mountain climbers, base jumpers, etc., as are mothers, fathers, teachers, etc. I guess emergency personnel could be thought of as risk takers, it's something they do every day with low pay, and are so common we take little notice of them.





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