Today began with a bang in Fargo, N.D. Watch the video. Consider the implications.
Several bangs, actually, as multiple explosions in quick succession brought down the Lashkowitz High Rise.
BOOM-BOOM-BOOM! Tilt. Down.
Then a huge dust cloud billowed out, over and down onto me and the hundreds if not thousands of people gathered on a levee just south of the site.
We oohed, aahed, exclaimed and laughed as the old building imploded and came down just about spot-on at the target time of 7 a.m., and after, too, enjoying the destruction of the building that has towered over the west bank of the Red River of the North for decades.
Destruction, like so many things, can be good or bad, but most often it’s a negative. So why are we drawn to it so strongly? Why do we derive such joy from it? Why would thousands of people get out of bed while it’s still dark outside on a Saturday morning just to see it happen? Why does it make us feel so good?
Google “Why do humans get pleasure from destruction” or similar strings and you’ll be able to read up on why watching destruction revs our engines. There’s a lot out there. I like this brief explanation form Dr. Christian Jarrett, a cognitive neuroscientist, science writer and author, which he wrote for BBC Science Focus:
Controlling the destruction of something gives us a sense of power and can also produce other feelings such as awe.
Feeling in control is a basic human need and one theory posits that deliberately destroying things is incredibly satisfying because it makes us feel powerful. Anecdotal evidence from visitors to ‘anger rooms’ indicates that there’s also a cathartic element, especially when we’ve been suppressing frustration in our everyday lives. Many people also get a thrill from watching things being smashed to pieces.
Whatever it is, the base desire or need resides in me as much as any other human, and I get just as much of a jolt out of it.
This despite the fact that I abhor violence and detest the grotesque aftermath of destruction, with the chaos of debris and smoke and dust and, all too often in today’s world, screaming and mangled bodies.
The proximity of today’s implosion to the annual commemoration of the Twin Towers in New York coming down inevitably brought back eerie, desperate and sorrowful memories and feelings.
I thoroughly enjoyed this morning’s felling of the Lashkowitz High Rise. My video-documented reaction to the explosions and crumbling of the building leaves not doubt of that.
Maybe I’m twisted. Maybe I’m normal (whatever that is). And maybe I’m just like you.
Regardless, getting up at 5:45 a.m. was worth it.
There, psychologists – do your worst.