Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle sometimes has his characters state that a traumatic memory "stands between me and my sleep". We rarely witness horrific events in our safe little lives, most of us sleep soundly knowing we never will. The closest we come to genuine, bloody horror is our televisions.
A few minutes of Late Show stand up raised the idea of introducing lions into the city, to wake everyone up a little. I'm not sure who the comedian was but I liked his idea. He was complaining that most days are the same, that the risk of lethal lion attack would make each day a little more interesting. A friend with a "my dry cleaning was late" story would become a friend with a "lion ate the dry cleaner story", much more interesting.
Are we too safe, smug, complacent? I believe we are. It's not that I really want a lion to ambush me on my way home, I reckon we should appreciate how good we have it, that we live in the most affluent and easy time in human history. Millions of generations faced fear and horror daily, evolved and got smarter, so I can sit here at an outdoor cafe without fear of attack, lion or otherwise. We sleep easy due to thousands of years of hard work done by others.
Yet we still have primitive survival instincts, still breed like rabbits, defend our hearts and bodies, live as if the jungle is our reality. We satisfy our need for fear with television, where everyone is raped and murdered every day. Of course there is still some real life horror out there if you go looking for it, I've seen my share, lost some sleep over it, but if we choose to live sensibly and carefully it rarely intrudes on our lives.
I feel our lives lack intensity, immediacy, we are all sleep walking. Folks go in search of thrills, jump out of perfectly good planes with parachutes, a respite from the tedium. Soldiers returned from living with real fear find real life almost intolerable, like nothing real is happening. Travellers too. Some of us go in search of intensity by taking the hard road instead of the easy one. Some get up on stages just to feel some nervous energy.
I guess I want to go to sleep each night feeling that something real happened that day, that something real will happen tomorrow, I loved, I worked, I lived. Introducing lions may be a little drastic as a wake up call, maybe not?