Sunday, February 20, 2011

'Why risk it?'

This thing has been bugging me for about a month. In the excellent trailer for 'Breathe', the upcoming documentary about William Trubridge, a question is asked. It's at 1:39 in the video below:

At first i thought Will's search for a response was the best part of the teaser, but then i noticed the question tickled me more and more. I wanted Will to come up with bogus answers, like "i dropped my goggles and want them back", or paraphrase George Mallory with "Because it's down there." Now though, i'm at a point where i'm hoping he doesn't answer the question in the documentary at all. It's a crap question.

I understand why the maker of this documentary, Martin Khodabakhshian, had to ask this question, as it is something an outsider would want to know, but it is misguided. Risk implies choice. Asking 'why risk it?' is assuming there are different options, and i don't think there are any options or choices in this matter. I don't dive anywhere near as deep as Willy, but i can't help wanting to dive as deep as i can, and i suspect a lot of freedivers have this. It is an urge to keep falling, to keep dissolving into that pressure, to keep going to that point where only in retrospect you can say that you became one with what you were doing and where you were doing it. It's not about choice or risk, it's about the love of depth.

Depth's reward is intrinsic. It's one of the things that makes freediving so pure. The mere sensations of depth, be it the elephant sitting on your chest when you struggle or the huge hug when you let go, are  enough. And of course within that depth you'd want to discover the depth in you, how deep you can go. Isn't that the case with all passion?

We don't choose what we love, just as we don't choose the length of our limbs. We do what we love because we can't help it, we can only surrender to it like we can only surrender to the pressure at depth. The only risk is not doing it. When you don't do what you love, you risk turning into what my dad would call a passionless amorphous mass of banalities. And why risk that?

down the line


Tom Christensen said...

I think you are correct in your description "Because we love it". What intrigues me more is that anyone that need to ask the question "Why..?" will never ever be able to understand the answer. Simply because if you need to ask, the answer will never be comprehended...

FREEak said...

"Why risk it?" - I think that question is based on a whole lot of wrong assumptions.

Taking is risk means doing something that has a realistic chance to go wrong, having a bad outcome. It implies doing something that is beyond our control. In my perception I do not take a risk when freediving. "Risky" is something we are told freediving would be. So what is "risky", actually? What is not? Who decides?

Then, there is the assumption that anything we do has a goal. A goal, like a thing that has to be reached so you can be satisfied. In this perception "risk" is a price you pay to reach a goal, it is a thing you have to overcome to get where you want to be.

For me, freediving has always been a state that made me happy. It is the moment when you get out of the pool after an exhausting but good trainig, it is the feeling of just floating, it is the trying out new techniques, it is the diving together with friends. Of course I had great moments when doing a new pb, when achieving some neat ranking at a comp. Everybody likes if he's good at what he's doing. But I know that the main thing always was the journey, never "arriving".

Alexandru said...

@ FREEak,

...cannot see the forest for the trees!

Anything we do has a goal. It may not be a "thing" as you wrote - but your feeling was right! You gave the answer in your next paragraph.

The point of view here is that happiness is the ultimate goal for everything we do - even suicidal!

... so here it is: happiness is "the forest" you couldn't see because you were calling it "tree"

Linda Trubridge said...

Yes i agree with your responses except that you don't see that the role of a film maker/interviewer is to ask (what may be obvious to those of us who live on the edge) the very questions that will connect with reality as most perceive it to be. This may get under the skin of those who live a little more but it will continue to fascinate everyone and cause discussions like this. When i saw this part i laughed out loud, perhaps a release of the tension of caring or perhaps because it goes to an obvious question, that I would never ask, which opens up the way to many that are more meaningful.