As I watched live coverage of Felix Baumgartner preparing to jump from a balloon poised on the edge of space, I couldn’t help wondering what drives some one to risk their life on what, at first glance and indeed second glance, seems a sure-fire way of getting yourself killed.
Most of us I suspect, would only contemplate jumping from a great high in moments of extremis; because our life had become intolerable or, as in the case of some of those trapped in the twin towers, because it was preferable to being burnt to death.
When I was a child, my mother would scream at me to come away from the edge if I went anywhere near a cliff-top or castle battlement. I’m not blaming her you understand, but I’ve been terrified of heights ever since. Which is why, when Felix Baumgartner stepped out onto the tiny ledge outside his capsule, I found myself shouting ‘For God’s sake Felix, come away from there!’