British writer Virginia Woolf once fantasized about being a bird, flying from the sky overlooking the city of New York. I judged from her writing that she may have acrophobia, which is why she described the feeling of dizziness in such detail. Of course, this is not a matter of damaging reputation, many literati have acrophobia. Including myself, every time I see a photo or movie shot from a high point of view, my blood pressure plummets and I sweat, and I think of Camus’ words: “I have never felt so deeply. , I am far from the soul, and my existence is so real.”
Acrophobia is very common, and some experts say that about one in 20 people is afraid of heights. Scientists believe that there are three factors for fear of heights. The first is the deviation of the human visual focus, the second is the poor control of the body, and the weak vestibular system function, which leads people to overestimate the vertical height, and intuitively feel more terrible. There are many literati who conform to these elements. They are both sentimental and helpless. They often lack the ability to solve their own difficulties. In the process of climbing to explore the natural scenery, they are more likely to feel negative thinking and anxiety. This escalates fear, creating a vicious circle.
In the Tang Dynasty, Han Yu and his friends traveled to Huashan, and they made a big joke out of fear of heights. As the saying goes, “it’s easy to go up the mountain but hard to go down”. This is because when going up the mountain, you can find the landing point in advance. Even if the mountain road is steep, it will not make people feel scared. Many people wait until they go down the mountain to find that the vertical and horizontal perspectives are different. Han Yu saw that the surrounding valleys were unfathomable, and his legs were so weak that he couldn’t walk, thinking that he would be trapped in the mountains for the rest of his life. The desire to live and the fear of death are intertwined, causing him to break down emotionally, cry in public, and write a letter to say goodbye to his family. The friends and servants who went up the mountain together, no matter how to comfort him, it was useless, so they had to inform the Huayin county government.
However, fear of heights is not useless, it can help people to jump out of their existing thinking and enter a higher and broader perspective to think about problems. The French philosopher Sartre went on vacation to the Pyrenees Mountains. In a steep mountain pass, he was afraid of heights and had the urge to “jump”. This extreme fear reaction inspired him to write “Existence and Nothingness” and see the truth of existentialism. It is similar to Su Shi from the Northern Song Dynasty. He first entered the official career and served as the judge of Jiedu in Fengxiang House, Shaanxi. He made friends with Ling Zhang Dun of Shangluo. The two of them went to Xianyoutan once to play. After passing through a cliff, Zhang Dun asked Su Shi to write a wall on the opposite cliff and leave their names.
Su Shi saw that there was only one piece of wood connecting the two ends of the cliff, and there was a steep cliff below. Zhang Dun walked across the single-plank bridge calmly, took a rope and tied it to a nearby tree, climbed the rope to a high point on the mountain wall, wrote “Zhang Dun Su Shi came to swim” on the stone wall with a brush dipped in ink, and followed the original road. return. Like Sartre, Su Shi was very keen to observe the difference, and judged that Zhang Dun was a ruthless character who could kill people—under normal circumstances, people would keep the fear of danger within an emotionally safe distance, and would gamble in the face of major dangers. People who are inclined are more likely to make some destructive actions – the subsequent facts also proved that Su Shi’s judgment was accurate.
People who are afraid of heights will be more in awe of the complexities in human society. In the Qing Dynasty, Shaanxi Governor Bi Yuan led his staff to climb Huashan Mountain. In Canglongling, which made Han Yu feel ashamed, Bi Yuan saw that the mountain continued to extend to infinity. He felt that it was impossible to go on such a steep mountain road, so he fell into panic and staged After the same plot as Han Yu, he cried and made a fuss, wrote a letter to say goodbye to his family, and stated that his life would be ruined on Mount Hua.
The staff and subordinates who traveled with him comforted him. As long as he kept his eyes on the stairs when going down the mountain, he could go down calmly. But no matter how persuasion it was, it was useless, Bi Yuan just didn’t dare to walk down the mountain by himself. Seeing that the top governor of a province was trapped by fear of heights, officials at all levels were in a panic, and finally came up with an alternative method: send wine to the top of the mountain to make Bi Yuan get drunk, fall asleep and lose consciousness, and then tie him up with a blanket. Hanging down the mountain with ropes all the way.
Bi Yuan’s reaction afterwards was very decent. He didn’t feel embarrassed and anxious because of this embarrassing incident. He even raised a sum of money to widen the mountain road in Canglongling. He just knew that there was nothing to be ashamed of when he was afraid of heights. After all, in the long evolutionary history of human beings, the first to be eliminated are often those who do not understand fear.