# Why do people do dangerous things?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by StrangerInAStrangeLand, Oct 29, 2008.

1. ### StrangerInAStrangeLandSubQuantum MechanicValued Senior Member

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15,383
Why do people do dangerous things?
Why do people criticize some for doing something dangerous while they do dangerous things themselves?
Is anything dangerous obvious to everyone?
Is it worth it to do something dangerous?
1111

3. ### EnmosValued Senior Member

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43,184
Because they:
- don't realize it.
- underestimate the danger.
- think it won't happen to them.
- don't care for their well-being.
- can't or won't live without the rush (adrenaline junkies).
- accept the danger because they weight the cons and pros.

Arrogance and/or see above

5. ### synthesizer-patelSweep the leg Johnny!Valued Senior Member

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2,262
Stranger,

The answer is that its hardwired into our genes and is why we are still around today.

Without this our ancestors would have been too shit scared to step out of their caves and go hunting - because they would be hunted themselves the moment they did - the evolutionary answer was to select for individuals who would take these kinds of risks by rewarding thier brains with all kinds of nice feeling chemicals when their risks payed off.

While there aren't too many sabre toothed tigers around these days (except for in my secret genetic experiment lab) - people still look for that primal buzz you get from performing a seemingly death defying feat.

In addition there's a hypothesis called "Risk Homeostasis" - it suggests that as our environment becomes safer, the more risks we are willing to take in that environment - this is one explanation for the fact that while cars have become significantly safer, there has been no significant change in the number of deaths and injuries on the roads:

got anti-lock brakes? - great! I can brake later and drive faster on slippery roads - kindathing

7. ### phlogisticianBannedBanned

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10,342
Is it worth it to do something dangerous? Hell Yes!

I surf, and snowboard as much as I can. Snowboarding off piste, on powder, through trees, as fast as I can. Because it's bloody good fun.

I've been rock climbing and pot holing. Next pot hole will see me doing my first sump.

I spar MMA with some friends occasionally. Got submitted 7 times in two minutes by one guy who fights pro. Was it worth it? Hell yes.

And when I'm not indulging in extreme sports, I run. Because it releases endorphins, and as Mr Patel said, we do like our happy chemicals.

8. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

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24,690
Presumably every risk comes with a reward. Comparing the two is called risk analysis, and making a decision based on that analysis to choose a strategy of risk avoidance, risk acceptance, risk mitigation, risk deferral or risk transference is called risk management. (Those are the five categories of risk strategy we generally use in business risk management.) No two people put exactly the same value on any risk or any reward, so risk analysis is something everyone must do for himself. For example, a driver with a thirty-year-old Plymouth might choose not to drive in a bad rainstorm, whereas the driver with the brand-new Mercedes wouldn't be deterred. Likewise, an unemployed man with a $500,000 life insurance policy might leap into a river to try to save the victims of a car crash, knowing his family will be taken care of if he drowns, whereas the successful musician earning$150,000 a year but with no insurance might make a different choice.
Within broad limits, everyone agrees on the assessment of the risk, but they don't agree on the value of the reward. Even the most dedicated motorcycle enthusiast admits that motorcycles are more dangerous than cars. But his grandmother doesn't understand the value of the pleasure derived from the convenience, fun, sense of freedom, and things you don't know unless you've ridden one, like that indescribably exhilarating decrease in temperature when you ride into a forest.
That's a remarkably general question. Obviously nuclear war is dangerous to everyone, whereas some people can survive a rattlesnake bite.
You seem to think "danger" is a binary condition: everything either is or is not dangerous. That's simply not true. Almost all of us in the developed world accept driving a car as a necessity of life, and we wouldn't dream of getting along without one unless we happen to live in a city like New York or San Francisco where it's actually feasible. Yet auto accidents are something like the third or fourth leading cause of death in the entire world. Even in places like Iraq and Somalia. In the United States the odds are roughly one in a hundred that the cause of YOUR death will be an auto accident.

People perform incredibly irrational risk management. Airliners are so safe that even in a year like 2001 when four of them were crashed deliberately, they're at the bottom of the risk chart. Yet many people go into a cold sweat thinking about it--as they drive their cars to the airport, an activity about a thousand times more dangerous.

Or my personal gripe with the way our government does risk management: In the past eight years, three thousand Americans have been killed by terrorists, and ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND Americans have been killed by drunk drivers. Which risk should we be concentrating on? Especially since mitigating the risk of drunk driving is absurdly easy, cheap, and can be done without curtailing anyone's rights or even making them take their shoes off: just install a breathalyzer ignition interlock in every new car and as the fleet turns over drunk driving will drop by a factor of 100.
This is not true. There's been a sixteen percent decrease in fatalities per mile in the last ten years in the United States. And cars were already remarkably safe ten years ago. The difference since my youth in the 1950s, before seat belts, independent suspension, disc brakes, radial tires, impact-absorbing bumpers, Botts dots, and freeways, is phenomenal. Three of my friends died in auto accidents before I was 20. The count in the 45 years since then--and I have an awful lot more friends today--is zero.

9. ### Baron MaxRegistered Senior Member

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23,053
Breathalyzers can be easily bypassed in such arrangements.

I would also remind you once again that it's the speed which causes the deaths, not the alcohol.

I'm also curious why you care so much that you want to save all those damned people in the first place? Who are they to you? Why do you care? And if all those people were still here, and producing more babies, then we'd be even more over-populated than we are now!

Okay, .....back to the main topic ...whatever it was?!

Oh, I know ...Why do people do dangerous things? It's because they want to do them ....and they're free to do it. I think that's what freedom means, doesn't it?

Baron Max

10. ### synthesizer-patelSweep the leg Johnny!Valued Senior Member

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2,262
You're right - I misquoted the findings - its not the rate of death and injuries that don't change as safety features improve, its the rate of accidents - 'pologies

11. ### CutsieMarie89ZenRegistered Senior Member

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3,485
If you never did anything dangerous your life would be really boring, but somethings that some consider dangerous others do not, like my boyfriend likes to jump from balconies and such, I think that it's dangerous, but he doesn't agree, he says it's fun and the worse that he can see happening is that he might break a leg or something, but the fall from a tgree story certainly wouldn't kill him, so I'm worrying about nothing. :shrug:

12. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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33,264
People do dangerous things because they are sometimes paid to do them, like a firefighter or cop, all others that go out and do things that are dangerous are simply..STUPID.

13. ### Steve100O͓͍̯̬̯̙͈̟̥̳̩͒̆̿ͬ̑̀̓̿͋ͬ ̙̳ͅ ̫̪̳͔OValued Senior Member

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Because a lot of dangerous things are fun.

14. ### Baron MaxRegistered Senior Member

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Well, that's a pretty simplistic thing to say. First, what some people would call "dangerous" is not what others might think. And second, I would also disagree with you that what firefighters or cops do is dangerous ...they're well trained to recognize danger and get out of the way of it.

But also to just blatantly call people "stupid" for doing what they want or like is ...well, not very nice.

Baron Max

15. ### Betrayer0fHopeMY COHERENCE! IT'S GOING AWAYYRegistered Senior Member

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2,311
One's free to do as whatever one wishes to do. If that means it is dangerous, so be it.

16. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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Sorry, what would you call a person who throws themselves off of a cliff with no parachute just some sort of winglets that allows them to "fly" along until they reach the ground? Or how about people who base jump as well, they have a parachute and sometimes get a very serious injury or even death. There are many other examples of what I call "stupidity" because they take unnecessary chances that the major population wouldn't try to attempt for they know the dangers that are present. If only a few people do things that are so risky , for no money, then I'd call them stupid.

17. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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Except when the taxpayers must pay their hospital expenses that can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars whenever they crash and burn. Wouldn't that money be better spent on those who don't want to get hurt and are cautious but accidents happen to them without looking for them.

Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
18. ### madanthonywayneMorning in AmericaRegistered Senior Member

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12,461
It's a mating display. A way of demonstrating your fitness as a mate by surviving despite engaging in dangerous activities.
This is the double edged sword the liberal do-gooders use to control us. First, they demand universal healthcare. Then they come in and dictate how you should live your life because they're paying for your healthcare.

There's no free lunch. Univeral healthcare is but one more step on the road to slavery. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
19. ### CutsieMarie89ZenRegistered Senior Member

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Based off of that you could say the people who play sports for fun are "stupid" because they are dramatically increasing their risk of getting injured.

20. ### swarmRegistered Senior Member

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4,207
Sometimes they have no choice, sometimes they don't truly understand the risk and sometimes because they want to/think its fun or worth the effort.

21. ### swarmRegistered Senior Member

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4,207
Univeral healthcare is but one more step on the road to having healthy people. The piper calls the tune.

22. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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To me most sports are not that dangerous. They are supervised, have rules and regulations, protective gear and many people participate. So I would classify these as sports enthusiasts, daredevils and jocks but they don't play to risk life and limb,they play for money.

Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
23. ### visceral_instinctMonkey see, monkey denigrateValued Senior Member

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I am one of those.