Integrated Wisdom

The Deadliest Train Wrecks

Our need to look upon disasters is psychologically healthy.

Our eyes are drawn to a disaster, be it natural, such as a hurricane, volcanic eruption, or tornado, or man-made, such as a car crash or train wreck. It’s not that we enjoy them, but we’re fascinated, and we can’t look away. They’re tragic events and can cost many lives, but even knowing all that, we still look on. That fascination, after all, is why you’re reading this article.


So what’s this morbid curiosity all about? According to Psychologist Carl Jung, our psyche has a dark side in which reside our evil inclinations. When we look at a a catastrophe, we give these inclinations free reign in a socially acceptable way and without any negative consequences.

Others propose that we crave stimulation, even from unpleasant events. We can safely experience the emotions and get an adrenaline rush from a disaster. Even though we won’t like what we’re seeing, still we’re stimulated and that feels good. Many of us crave that adrenaline rush and the heightened emotional state — the thrill of the risk makes us feel alive. That’s what horror movies are about.

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