Sunday, January 23, 2011

No. 0987 No Fear

The repair guy was a lot less brawny than this.

  "Superman don't need no seatbelt"  
Muhammad Ali

Last week, I had a repairman come to my apartment to fix the air-conditioning / heater unit. He opened up the window, looked out at the box outside, and in split-second - before I even had a chance to realize what he'd done - he was standing outside the window walking casually along a frame as thin and as wiry as he was, without any safety equipment (we are 4 floors up), acting as if this was totally normal.

Well, probably in his line of work it is normal. Maybe being thrown into scary unsafe situations so many times has made such a fabulously daring thing seem simple in his own eyes. Maybe he seriously is unaware of the risks involved (ignorance is bliss)! Or maybe he is just a "die-hard" thrill-seeker (sorry for the bad pun, it couldn't be helped). But I think it is more than that.

Indeed, it has to be more than this--for Egyptians to get up and drive into hell-crazy traffic each morning, and to do some of the wildly brave things I've seen Egyptians do.

I think, and I am guessing here, on some level there is an absence of fear. Maybe this is rooted in an over-confidence, a pervasive psychological superman syndrome, or in a zeal that God will protect them no matter what, or - if not, then a humble acceptance that the Lord's plan is best and if I make or break its all good either way.

In its worst form, this sense of divine predestination takes root in the mistaken belief that one is exempt from an ethical (or moral, if you prefer that term) responsibility to act, and hence we are all consigned to the will of fate, for better or worse. On the other hand however, this reassurance can result in a daring attitude with a strong ability to stand up to the face of danger, to take risks that most would never consider, with an almost super-man fabulous reassurance that in the end, good is gonna get the upper hand.

Check this out:
"Only in Egypt" pic from
Captures the point nicely. Thanks Adel for the recommendation.
If you live, or have ever lived in Egypt, you will "get" this photo.
Personally, I love the guy from the balcony, offering
his token support by grabbing onto the guy's belt/sweater...

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