Why Do People Do Stupid Things?

A man jumps 180 feet from a crane into an air bag. A woman dons a fire suit, climbs into a car and blows it up. Another man splits 45 watermelons open in less than 60 seconds, with his head. Watching this on television two questions repeated in my mind. Why would anyone do this? And, why am I watching this?

The first question is something I have considered for years. Several possible answers have come to mind from boredom to adrenaline addiction, but I think the true answer is more basic. People have a desire to be recognized, to receive attention, to be special. They want to be somebody. It is as if their greatest fear is insignificance. The desire for adulation and recognition is so overpowering that people will risk life and limb for a moment of praise.

It is easy to look at these seemingly insane daredevils and say, "I would never do That!"  But is not totally true. We all do things to get recognized, many of which are silly and some of which are downright foolish. Simple expressions of this desire include those who have too many clothes or too much makeup and those non-stop talkers who always need to be the center of attention. The desire to be recognized, when not appropriately checked, can lead to harmful behaviors such as sexual indiscretions, risky investments, or the dangerous behaviors we see on reality TV. Being ordinary, just one of the crowd, doesn’t satisfy.

The root of all this dates back to the nature of all mankind. The Genesis account describes the initial sin of Adam and Eve and the deception that led to it. They were created to live lives in submission to God, but that was not enough. They were tempted by the thought that they could be more, that they could be like God. The desire to be Godlike, to be above others, has plagued us ever since. We want to be recognized as greater and more special than we are. Contentment is an elusive virtue.

The solution to this problem is not to do more and achieve more, as this is a desire that can never be satisfied. The solution is to see ourselves as God sees us, to remind ourselves that our value comes from Him and what He sees in us and not in the praise of others. This is a simple statement but it is amazingly difficult to realize! It is nevertheless worth the effort for it is the secret to a life of contentment and peace.

-              Bart

As for the second question, I watch this on TV for the same reason I watch most programs. It was what was on at the time!

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