Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Call of the Void

I'm writing this post on 3 hours of sleep and zero coffee because of a ridiculously early meeting at work so I apologize in advance if the writing is crappy.

So last night, while I should have been sleeping, I was cruising tumblr once again when I came across this great article on one of my favortie tumblr feeds, Castle of Lions. If you don't want to click through no worries, I'll give a synopsis. Basically, the article goes over 20 words that are untranslatable to English. Some were funny, others made me wish they existed in the English language because they make perfect sense. But one in particular made me stop:

"L’appel du vide
- French – “The call of the void” is this French expression’s literal translation, but more significantly it’s used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places."

I loved this expression so much because I didn't realize it was a feeling shared by others. I've never mentioned it on my blog but I love heights, and any time I'm somewhere there's an edge or cliff or wall separating me from nothingness I always feel this ridiculous urge to go right up to the very edge. Part of me wants to experience the rush of what it would feel like to jump and completely let go, but at the same time it's not a suicidal thought. It's more, as if I want to experience something I know no one is going to catch me, it's just me and that falling sensation.

I don't know if I explained it very well but I felt the need to share it because I loved learning it was defined by something tangible like words, even if it's not in the English language.


saintgoldie said...

Thank you for this post! Just the info I was looking for...

Anonymous said...

I felt the same way when I found out about it!

I knew I get that same sensation (it's why I'm actually afraid of heights; I get that sensation, and then I get scared because I actually have a pretty darn good idea of "what would happen" if I jumped). And I asked my mom and she said she gets it... but both of us are prone to or have been prone to depression, she's even bipolar(!), so I figured it was a self-destructive instinct.

Apparently it's just a weird quirk of humanity that some people get! And the French, as usual, have an idiom for it (seems it's always the French or the Germans that have a word or idiom for this kind of odd little common thing that English-speakers apparently never thought about long enough to have their own idioms for. Schadenfraude and treppenwitz are further, German examples - the latter being the German equivalent of the French "wit of the staircase" idiom, which refers to the act of suddenly having the perfect comeback occur to you only when it's far too late to actually use it against the person you want to).

This was actually a relief to discover; like you said yourself, it's not something you assume is "a feeling shared by others", because it seems so irrational on the face of it. Yay, I feel slightly less dysfunctional! :D

Tinsoldieress said...

I'm glad you found it helpful saintgoldie and especially you anon! Such a great comment back, I really enjoyed the bit about the "wit of the staircase" fact.

Judging from the amount of hits this single post gets from google searches, there are plenty of people sharing the same experience.

Anonymous said...

There is also an urge to jump off the back of your boat when sailing solo across an ocean. Goes away after a couple of weeks in my experience, and those of a couple of other singlehanders I have spoken to.

Jón said...

It is also related to the urge to do insane things, like driving a car into a crowd of people, or a tank into a traffic.

I can't find the wikipedia article...

Rishabh Mayank said...

WI feel the same ..actually i got to this blog after someone answered my enquiry on yahoo. N im eleaved that im not alone to hav yhese feelings n im not sucidal or insane... its grt ..thnks..

Anonymous said...

I get these same feelings a lot of the time, only mine to me seem a lot more unwanted and disturbing, and intrusive

and wouldn't ya know it..

Glad to see I'm not alone in this though.

Anonymous said...

Riding on the back of a motorcycle, and just letting go of the driver-
I've envisioned my bones breaking, my skin peeling back ect..
I'm not morbid, nor depressed.. but I seriously scare myself because I cannot get this feeling out of my head.
It's like, I know I can't- So I should.. but clearly shouldn't -