Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Philippe Petit on a cable between the WTC towers; ca. 1974

 

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Life should be lived on the edge of life; you have to exercise rebellion:

to refuse to taper yourself to rules, to refuse your own success,

to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge,

and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope.

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I really really enjoyed the documentary  Man on Wire from a historical aspect; but Petit was a bit of an ass. In the end, he seemed like he just sort of abandoned his friends once he got recognition. His one buddy got banned for life from the US and he didn’t seem to care, and as soon as he got released rather than go visit his girlfriend he shacked up in a hotel with some random girl for a couple of days. Ugh!

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*On 9/11/2003, Petit wrote the most poignant eulogy for the Twin Towers. It draws upon a lesson he learned in coping with the death of his young daughter in the 1990s.

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8 responses

  1. conscientiousskeptic

    The last thing I’d want to wear is bell bottom jeans on a tight rope walk.

    May 30, 2014 at 8:36 pm

  2. Or anywhere else for that matter.

    May 30, 2014 at 8:38 pm

  3. Agreed. Great documentary, great soundtrack, but I didn’t find him likable by the film’s end. He can certainly churn out quotable phrases and his dedication and cojones are unrivaled but I’m not so sure he’s a good guy deep down.

    May 30, 2014 at 8:41 pm

  4. roaldengelbregtamundsen

    If he actually said that in regards to his WTC walk, he’s a dickhead. “If I die” blah blah, yea, Philippe, what about the people who have to clean you up? The everyday people that have to deal with this shit if you don’t live?

    May 30, 2014 at 8:42 pm

  5. conscientiousskeptic

    Meh, cleaning up a dead body isn’t too bad, and I don’t think it would have made a major impact (haha! A pun! Shut up.) on anyone’s life if he had – people die all the time, and maybe watching a French man fall one hundred and ten floors would be a rude way to learn this, but I’m sure most adults would be able to get over it.
    I mean, look at in terms of potential upside v. potential downside (given the assumption above):
    Potential upside (successful walk): He succeeds in his life-long ambition, potentially inspiring several people around the world to make goals and execute them.
    Potential downside (plummet to death): Someone has to scrape his corpse off the pavement, and the Darwin Awards start in the 1970s instead of in the 1980s.
    I’d say the upside far outweighs the downside here.

    May 30, 2014 at 8:43 pm

  6. I’d like to see him try it now.

    May 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm

  7. It would be a whole lot easier. Just put a piece of wire on the ground.

    May 30, 2014 at 8:47 pm

  8. roaldengelbregtamundsen

    What do you call a Frenchman wearing sandals?
    Philliphe Phelopp

    May 30, 2014 at 8:48 pm

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