My lovely wife Mel has asked me to change topics from the Millstone because it’s very serious. So I thought I’d look into a different topic close to my heart suggested by my brother in law Dave.
The greatest movie of all time isn’t Top Gun coined an amazing phrase, “I feel the need, the need for speed!!” That mentality of Naval aviators, like my friend Matt, is common among jet pilots and racing drivers and let’s be honest, most every man out there.
So, what is with it?
Sorry, Dave, the answer is really short. Adrenaline, dopamine, testosterone. Boom, hormones. It can be linked to male peacock behavior, trying to impress “chicks, man”, and also male dominant behaviors in lions, the old “this is my turf” dance fight.
Pretty boring answers. Disappointing, really.
Ok, so I’m a 36-year-old geezer, not looking to impress or dominate. Why do I still like to go fast?
Here’s my take.
On the one hand, the human body is designed for lower speeds. We have trouble recognizing things with our senses at a faster speed, especially visually which is the dominant human sense.So, going fast challenges a human to go beyond a normal limit of sense, increasing the dangers and giving the adrenaline rush. This leads to the endless war on speed, where committees go over scientific studies and determine what limit is proper and then enforcing it with police. A natural reaction designed to shoehorn in all drivers into a nice controllable box. And let me say now that I do Not condone reckless driving in any form!
But that’s not all on this topic. In going beyond what is a natural limit, and being successful is a major human achievement and a step at betterment. We all admire anyone at the edge of the possible! To go fast, on a plane, car, bike, or whatever, is to force the body to go beyond the human normal condition.
This has two effects that I’d like to talk about. One is that focus must be increased to successfully go fast without screwing up, for example, how many times do we distracted runners fall? And I can’t imagine what Matt went through to fly a jet, imagine if he lost focus!?!? Another is that to successfully go fast, the human body engages it’s senses at a higher level, not over-relying on eyesight. Think of a racing driver, feeling the movement of the car in his hands and body, hearing the engine revs, smelling if the engine is burning or leaking, at one with the mechanical functions of the car.
In a real way, going fast enables humans to engage full humanity!
It also enables the co-creative side to us. Engineering planes that go faster than sound, cars running on batteries going 250mph and not blowing up, tour d France bikes that weigh less than ten pounds! These are all good things! Imagine if man’s drive was neutered, would we have gone to the moon? Invented a Lamborghini? Developed the hadron collider which is a way to move subatomic particles faster?
All this to wonder if it is disordered. What makes us WANT this? Why do kids have pictures of Ferraris on their wall?
My take, if it were disordered, it would be more obvious. Like many things, the misuse of speed, the reckless endangerment of lives, yeah that’s disordered! But speed by itself? Going fast on an empty back road, feeling the car push the limits? Straight line acceleration on an open highway? Racing on a track? These aren’t disordered nor immoral even if the speed limit is lower. In fact, it is co-creative and that is inherently good.
So, Leo Da Vinci, that guy probably never went faster than a gallop. He imagined helicopters, airplanes, submarines! He pushed the limits on what man could achieve! I think it is something to strive for, the co-creative aspect.
I also hate the war on speed. I am convinced that safety is good, but it is an overreaction to rid the world of any and all risk. Bubble wrap the world. That way we won’t get sued! Such cowardice! It’s disgusting!
Really, I just also wanted to share that Jim g took me out in a Ferrari 458 last week and it was incredible! And the bubble wrappers of the world are wrong and misguided!