Why do people go to scary movies and ride roller coasters?
Why do people read thrillers and watch crime dramas?
What is it about fear and adrenaline that people seek out for enjoyment?
I find this very interesting. If I wrote articles for magazines, I’d be interviewing experts right now. (And hopefully getting paid for this stuff.) I imagine they’d say that humans are getting in touch with their fight-or-flight instincts. Since we no longer encounter lions, tigers and bears on a daily basis, no longer have to tap into that which proves we are survivors and heros, these modern day thrills are the closest many of us will ever get to testing our instincts of survival. That’s important for some people, I suppose. It might even explain why the target audience for really scary movies (think the Halloween franchise), is young people, specifically young males. They are the perfect age for proving their virility. And where there are boys, there are girls. (Otherwise, what would be the point?)
But what’s so bad about calm? What’s so bad about peace and serenity? Yogis are happy people. The elderly (when they’re not worried about health or money issues) are generally happy people. They (we) no longer need to prove themselves this way. Hollywood must have figured this out long ago; I’m only just now analyzing it. The types of movies, books and thrills one seeks out says a lot about a person, if you think about it. Very interesting, indeed. Who needs Meyers-Briggs if you can just analyze a person’s history of choices.
As writers, we need to (we get to) decide what to include, what not to include in our work, and who our target audience is. You can’t please all the people all the time, so you got to please yourself. (Song lyrics for 100, Alex.) That’s the hardest part—what to include and what not to include. That’s also the fun part. In fact, that’s the point of fiction!
Next question: Why do people do drugs and smoke cigarettes? Well, that’s probably escapism… mixed with stupidity.