Meandering Monday About Why We Humans Do What We Do

I spent last night watching Everest, the story of an ill-fated expedition up the famed peak in 1996 that resulted in multiple tragic deaths. Well done, and really gave me a feeling of what it’s like up there, WITHOUT actually having to risk MY life (if you want to heighten the experience, sit and eat a tub of ice cream at the same time – I couldn’t get warm for a couple of hours afterward.)

In the opening of the film, you learn that in the first 40 years of “conquering” the mountain, a third of the climbers died. These were SERIOUS PROFESSIONALS – not the tourist-type climbers that paid good money to make the trek in later years. They (and the audience) are all told how dangerous what they’re doing is, that their bodies will be dying on them every moment that they’re up there. But they do it anyway.

Some of us are more risk-averse than others, but many people question WHY anyone does something like this, something so inherently dangerous (this extends to contact sports and other activities.) At a point in the movie, the WHY? question is asked of the climbers (how could it NOT be?), and although a half-hearted attempt is made to answer it, there is no satisfactory response. At least, nothing that could be considered more than a rationalization. For some people this rings hollow, but I believe that most humans understand the need without logic or words. I wouldn’t climb the mountain (but I still want to go to Mars, if anyone out there is paying attention…and can make it happen?)

We like to think we’re rational creatures. We are, although I’ve believed for the longest (hey, I spend entirely too much of my time thinking, and I’ve been around LONGER than most of you, so don’t even start saying that YOU’VE been thinking about it LONGER than me) that we are not so much RATIONAL creatures, but RATIONALE ones. We make decisions influenced by years of personal experience and emotions, and THEN we come up with the REASON to justify our actions.

How rational our rationale.

Most people aren’t actually stupid, but we make choices that create a different impression (picture: miles of people standing in the arctic wilderness, their tongues stuck to metal poles.) What one of us thinks is worthwhile another thinks is worthless – a variation on “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – but we can still understand the deep-down drive, the need to take a dare, even if it’s just from ourselves.

The closest anyone in the movie gets to REALLY explaining why they are on the mountain is Beck, who says that he always FEELS as though he has a dark cloud hanging over him – EXCEPT when he’s on a mountain. There’s a hole inside him, and he HAS to fill it.

When I started writing, I did it because I knew I was missing something – a creative outlet. I write… because the stories are there; that isn’t any more valid than climbing a mountain “because it’s there” (of course, submitting my stories for sale isn’t exactly risking my life – just rejection and my fragile ego.)

There are some things that are more important to each of us than JUST surviving.

Just saying…

What are the rest of you filling? Feel free to post it here.


MixedSignalsCoverPubItThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for “Mixed Signals”:

Nothing is going Jimmy’s way. Jill had moved to Portland and filed for divorce. Sure, Jimmy should have never gotten that illegal jack, but how was he to know that the Yons would use it to make him kill Eddie?

The prosecutor made a deal with the woman responsible, and the whole city thinks he’s dirty. Things couldn’t get any worse. Or could they?

“Mixed Signals” is the second story of my Detective Jimmy Delaney series (don’t worry if you haven’t read the others – it stands alone just fine.) It has Jimmy’s usual bad luck, with football, hookers, and murder thrown into the mix; GIVE IT A TRY! Use coupon code RT68V to get 72% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!). Here’s the link:

This coupon will be good until March 12th.


PipesCoverThe preorder campaign is winding down for my speculative short story “The Pipes”:

Sometimes it’s the little things… An unexpected extraterrestrial visitation has an adverse effect on a Texas farmer’s well. Think twice before you drink the water – there’s something in the pipes.

Release date is March 11th (this Friday!), but you can preorder now at a reduced promotional price at all the usual places, including (but not limited to):




William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “Ultimate Awareness”, can be found in many places, including:




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