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Curiosity and the desire to play are part of our nature; curiosity translates in some cases into the will to explore and unavoidably playing and exploring combine and so adventure is created.
There are different forms of adventure: Some people become astronauts or explorers, while others go into extreme sports, war journalism, become mercenaries, financial agents or plain old gamblers willing to bet everything.
Some of these activities have a lot of prestige attached to them even if material rewards are not necessarily the highest: Space explorers are indeed well paid, but not so much as successful people in other risk-laden jobs. Sharp businesspeople dealing in stock markets can ear far more money than any astronaut, and professional gamblers consistently earn more material benefits than most explorers, scientists or extreme athletes. The low point of gambling is that it doesn't entail much prestige, even if for those who are good at it, going to gamble is just like going to the office.
So, in order to venture in any adrenaline-filled activity enthusiasts don't need the promise of material rewards. People may or may not do these things for money and indeed, that can be quite a persuasive factor, but to become an adventurer of any sort more is required because adventurers, by definition, get out of the scale of social averages, be them good or bad.
Gamblers, astronauts, war correspondents, circus acrobats, astronauts, mountain climbers and canyoning aficionados know or perceive that what they do is frowned upon by a lot of people that may or may not understand their motivations and goals, but perceive a certain level of risk, and that is disturbing.
It is no coincidence that playing and gambling in particular - I.e. playing for money or other goods or services - is frequently tied to the moods of people involved in difficult situations that they have to endure and survive, whether they got into them willingly or not. Soldiers recruited for a war are among the most typical cases of people that become prone to such forms of entertainment; traditionally they have been very creative when it comes to developing gambling venues that not always are related to money. Other interesting groups include sailors, migrants, settlers and essentially anyone that has to survive and thrive in long-term, uncertain or hazardous environments.
After a while, many individuals adapt and then try to obtain the most benefits even under the direst of circumstances, and since there is little else to do in survival situations, gambling for money, food, cigarettes, sex or other forms of services related to primitive comfort becomes a natural thing to do.
The appearance of odd forms of entertainment and bizarre bets is frequent under those circumstances; those bets and challenges put forward among participants are not uncommon because of the amounts of money involved, but due to other aspects of their nature and constitute a topic that has to be faced under our long study of things related to survival and exploration because playing, risking, gambling and betting are part of our human nature. All thorough history people faced risks and invented entertainment venues for themselves. So, while gambling seems to be a taboo topic for some people, there is nothing wrong with opening the closed and trying to understand it from the viewpoint of mavericks that try to go one mile more than the rest of the people.
By definition, exploring is breaking taboos, so I invite you to continue reading about this developing topic. Bookmark this page or add it to your favourites, and use the several links contained in it. They will take you to more pages that will deepen your knowledge about this issue.
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