WILLIAM A WENRICH wawenri at msn.com
Thu Oct 14 14:18:50 BST 2021

In Mission of Gravity, Barlenan is able to look over a cliff near the pole until he can see the connection (the side of the cliff) with the ground. That’s when he loses composure.

William A Wenrich

  *    A sinner, utterly dependent on God’s grace.

From: Lois-Bujold <lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk> on behalf of Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2021 11:05:18 PM
To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Subject: [LMB] OT: AIHABF

From: Marc Wilson <marc.wilson at gmx.co.uk>

>Gwynne: I'm terrified of heights, I can't even climb a ladder. When my
>father turned 80 we gave him a hot-air-balloon ride and somehow the
>family elected me to go with him. I decided to spend the whole time
>with my eyes closed. So off we went.
>And it was amazing. I could look out, and straight down, without feeling
>that sick panic and paralysis. We just floated, silently, and I loved every
>minute, leaning out and looking at everything....

AIUI, when you have a physical connection with the ground (e.g. you're
on top of a cliff, or a building, or whatever) it's somehow more
frightening than when you're suspended in mid-air.
I've met people who can't go out on hotel balconies - having flown to
the resort.
I'm not sure what the mechanism is, here, unless that it's simply that
evolution hasn't prepared anything for our mental toolkit to deal with

Gwynne: Interesting point. I haven't heard that theory before, but it makes
a lot of sense. I think for me there's more than just height issues, though.
I actually live on top of a cliff. I love the view, and I'm fine even at the edge,
because I have a sturdy fence that I know is safe. I can hold on there and
look out or even straight down with no worries. I suspect that, for me, part
of the problem is that I have serious balance issues (middle ear and ankle
damage) so I need to be anchored - even just touching a wall with one finger
will suddenly orient me and make me feel a bit safer, if I'm up high (when I
was teaching, I would have to climb up onto a desk to hang artwork on
high display boards, or strings across the room. Getting up there and making
myself stand up took so much determination. Once I made myself reach up,
even just touching that string made me feel better - and it's not as if the
string would give any help at all if I fell over.
Lois-Bujold mailing list message sent to wawenri at msn.com
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