Monday, September 12, 2011

Risk and attic fans

"There are very few risk takers 
left these days, mainly there are 
just risk managers."  -Jim Graham

       My father was in the Navy for most of his life, and through which has had a full gamut of experiences including being on every continent, being thrown out of helicopters, being in wars, having a lung collapse while at sea, spying on Russia, being spied on by Russia, point being he has had to take lots of risks.  This is the home I grew up in.  That being said I was really sad the other day when I asked my freshman seminar students if they had any good injury stories (ice breaker). I was sad since they had none. I realized that they had not done many physical things, and within those they had not taken many risks.
      My father was in town last week and I told him this and his reply was "There are very few risk takers left these days, mainly there are just risk managers.  It was that way when I was leaving the Navy, its a sad state of affairs."  My dad and I have a long history of working together. We enjoy tackling projects that we know nothing about. It started when I was a kid and has continued till this day. A couple of summers ago my dad and I deconstructed the suspension and brake system of my truck.

Most recently we installed an attic fan in my house. It was a fun job and a lot less involved than we had planned for, or maybe because we planned so much it seemed easy.  There is nothing like cutting a huge hole in your house when you kinda dont 100% know what you are doing. I always like the line by artist Janine Antoni when talking about her tight rope walking work Touch. She said it was not learning to be balanced on a tightrope but more learning to be comfortable out of balance. 

 I always remember my dad and I trying to fix things that broke because you "couldn't brake them again".  It is this curiosity and risk that I am scared is leaving our current culture. I know some of it has to do with the complexity of objects, example: I would never try to fix a cell phone, but i would try to fix a rotary phone.  I know it also has to do with a generation that has trouble doing some things independently of others initiatives. Why don't people take risk these days? Is it because of heightened consequence? Fear? Discomfort? Whatever the reason I am becoming convinced this must change. 


Prof. Darrell Kincer said...

Here's a thought: perhaps too many of us are living in a world created and dictated by others, and don't mind it. What I mean is that a great part of our lives is oriented around technology, and that technology is designed, created and dictated by certain people.

For example, consider an iPod. How it works and how it leads us into listening to music has changed our interaction with music. We no longer buy and handle physical objects that contain our music; nobody has to worry about scratching their CDs anymore. Therefore, I may not have to worry about how I handle or take care of things/stuff.

Example two: Guitar Hero. People are/were so enamored with that game. But look at yourself, you're not playing music; you only pushing a few buttons on a piece of plastic. There's not much risk in that.

So what I'm getting at is that there may be are a few risk takers, taking control of our life experiences and we fall in line based on our love of novelty and "social interaction."

Maybe there is a direct corelation between risk taking and the digital age?

Okay, that was a big tangent. I'll step down from the soapbox now.

Prof. Darrell Kincer said...

Hypothesis 2: There are a lack of consequences, so why go to all the trouble?

Example: if everyone gets a trophy for participating, why try to win? I'm going to get the trophy anyway.