For the last few years, a group has released a collection of some of the most spectacular and impressive athletic feats of the year.
The series is called: “People are Awesome” and this year, like every other, they have put together an outstanding compilation.
I have found these types of videos to be useful when teaching religion for two reasons: first of all, the amazing scenes are evidently appealing; second is the fact that they speak, between the lines, of the greatness of the human being and the depth of his/her desires.
When I see videos such as these, I can’t help thinking that the human person is a spiritual being. One might ask, how did you jump to that conclusion? I think that to really understand, we need to try to comprehend not so much what is done in the video, but rather why it is done. Why don’t we conform ourselves to mediocrity? Why not scale a tiny mountain instead or perhaps jump a medium size ramp? Why are we willing to put everything on the line, longing for the heights of perfection? What is it that pulls at us when we look upon the tallest ramp, the most imposing mountain, the most unbelievable jump?
If the human person were truly a mere biological and material organism, these types of inquiries would be absurd. What does cliff jumping have to do with the instinctual urge for self-preservation? When was the last time you saw a dog launching itself off a cliff trying to fly? It’s safe to say that natural beings tend to accept their limits. Why don’t we? What mystery lies hidden amongst the folds of those tissues and tendons?
I’m not pretending to put forward this video as some kind of “ultimate proof” of our spiritual nature, but I do think that it helps to pose the question: if natural beings, inclining always towards a certain harmony, remain within their limits, then man registers as some kind of anomaly in the system. That is, unless the longings and desires of greatness refer to limits different from those of the natural world. Perhaps all the “record-breaking” and fantastic stunts that appear to surpass all limits are, in reality, our attempts at discovering those authentic limits, those that go beyond our daily conception and reveal our authentic place in this existence.