Thursday, March 08, 2012

Tunnels and Death

I was in an antique store yesterday and saw an old train tunnel.  You know, those things that you would put over the track and the train runs through it.  As I looked at it, I began to wonder:  Why do we have things like this?  Not "why do we have model trains," but "why do we put silly little 6" long arches of styrofoam over the trains?"

And then, I was thinking about more advanced train lay-outs.  Most of them have at least one tunnel of some sort on them.  Why?

I think it goes back to something primal about things disappearing and then reappearing.  Possibly a fear that the object will disappear or something.will happen while in the tunnel.  Now, of course we know that the train will come out of the tunnel (barring any derailment) but we still like to make things go through them.

This may seem like silly speculation to some, but I think there is something more to it.  It might be playing with our fear of death.  It is thrilling to us on some level that the train goes into the tunnel and disappears and then somehow the train reappears.  The train comes back from the dead.

I also was thinking about the rituals of "Good Night" and "Good Morning."  Are they more than just social niceties?  When I say "good night" or "good morning" to the cat, I am indulging in an unnecessary social nicety.  Or am I trying to reassure myself or the other that we will make it through the "death" of sleep and arise the next morning?

Were our ancestral beings unable to have object permanence and so things disappearing frighten us?  Did our ancestral beings have difficulty in understanding sleep so we have rituals to inform people we are not dead?

I don't know.  Just a little peek into what happen in my brain.

No comments: