Spontaneous acts of thought

Comments on Kelly's "Aliveness" as Meaning and Skateboarding without a helmet

Wow! The NYT Stone editors (Peep this 12/25/17 Sean Kelly NYT piece) choose a pic of some skater blasting out of a bowl without a helmet...you see that! No helmet! 

Aliveness has something to do with sensation seeking: acts with perceived risk and ‘self-efficacy:’ the belief in one’s capabilities to manage high risk situations.

Skaters avoid helmets because we want aliveness: to face danger head on AND manage the risk if things go bad. 

Kelly's notion of aliveness helps understand behavior that appears self-destructive, particularly my own. (I don't wear a helmet when I skate.) Perhaps, like me, you find yourself in hind-sight-foolish-behavior: stuff that gets the regret alarm sounding. And maybe, like me, you are doing it to feel the meaning of being alive! 

Caution!!! Don't think about it! (warns Kelly), lest the spontaneity-induced meaningfulness of the act blip out of existence. Let the excitement flow and feel the synthesizing of your past, present and future selves. Or don't and keep your fractured, rational, meaningless existence to yourself.

Maybe this is why skating (add surfing and other flow acts) can so perfectly exemplify aliveness: when you do it right you are blasting so fast that you have to rely on those unconscious reactions just to stay upright--no time to think! You also have to rely on these instincts when the act goes south and a fall is inevitable--kick out or roll out or brace for impact! 

I think aliveness is an awakening of wild cognitive capacities that are crucial for life, and NOT "human" life. We feel alive when the human capacity to deaden behavior through countenancing risk with reason is demoted and our attention draws out the single thin thread that connects us to all living things--the thread of staying alive. 2018 is our realive or die year. 


Brian GlenneyComment