Skip to main content

The Urge to Jump

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
why-do-we-feel-the-urge-to-put-ourselves-in-harms-way

The Call

You are driving home after a long day at work; suddenly, you are filled with an overwhelming urge to swerve your car onto the oncoming trailer. After the moment is over, you are left questioning yourself? Where did that come from?


Surprisingly, this is a common phenomenon. Studies found out that there exists no correlation between this feeling and suicidal ideation. So frequent is this phenomenon that the french have even coined a term for this feeling l'appel du vide-The call of the void.


People have also reported experiencing this phenomenon when they stand in high places. The call of the void is a very weird phenomenon. It seems to serve no purpose, and no one really understands why we feel that way.


Scientists and scholars sometimes refer to it as the high-place phenomenon. 50% of people interviewed claimed to have experienced this feeling. They described it as an overwhelming urge to jump from high places such as cliffs and rooftops

.
Anxious people experience a stronger call to jump in a strange turn of events. It's like the brain playing tricks on us. So you are afraid of heights? Go on then jump.
Scientists and scholars speculate that this call to jump serves a purpose. To reaffirm our willingness to live. The mind rationalizes since I did not jump; this means that I want to live. In the face of danger, suddenly, everything is put into perspective. All attention and resources are brought forth into the present. The call serves to remind us of our willingness to live.


Another hypothesis by Adam Anderson, a cognitive NeuroScientist at Cornell University, is that the call of the void results from the brain's gambling nature. We decide to take our chances with the devil we know, in this case, the oncoming truck or the ground, instead of facing an unknown situation in the future.Pessimists yay!

Whatever the explanation for the void is, it is a surreal experience. Sometimes it leaves people with a deep sense of guilt. The urge to swerve onto oncoming traffic may make you feel guilty and cause one to feel like they pose a danger to other members of society.
However, while it may feel like you will swerve onto that truck tearing down the freeway, relax. The call is a common phenomenon, and sooner or later, it calls out to everyone.

Maybe it is a good thing. The next time you are going through the motions of life, sometimes a soft whisper from the call will rouse you from your dazed state and reaffirm your desire to keep on living.


Scientists and experts have yet to give us an explanation as to why we keep experiencing this phenomenon. In the meantime, let's keep on living, and when the void makes its call, let's smile and know that maybe this is our brain reminding us to live in the moment and enjoy life.


Related Articles