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What Is a Man Capable of to Survive?


The primary goal of any living organism is to survive. The same is true for humans, who stand at the top of the food chain. People rarely think about their survival and are rather concerned about their comfort in ordinary life. They choose tastier food and a softer bed and worry about the slightest sign of weakness in their bodies. However, various unforeseen conditions cause people to forget their usual comforts and start fighting for their survival. These conditions may include natural disasters, poverty, or severe illness. It can also be a contingency in which a person is left in a desperate situation until outside help arrives and is forced to take extreme measures to preserve his life. In my paper, I would like to talk about the extreme measures people can take to survive in such situations.

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The most obvious example of taking extreme measures for survival is a person’s behavior faced with a natural disaster or extreme poverty. Under normal conditions, a person begins to feel hungry after only a few hours of eating. However, under extreme conditions, he may not eat for several days. Another example of extreme measures for survival is the consumption of previously unsuitable food. For example, at least 300 families were affected by flooding in the village of Dangi-Tola in eastern India (Rumi & Rumi, 2019). Locals come to the most flooded areas of the area several times a day to fetch their breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the water. However, it is not about fish at all – people are forced to eat rats in order not to starve to death. The government has provided them with no means of livelihood, and their homes have been completely destroyed.

Another example of extreme measures for survival is the film 127 Hours, based on actual events. Climber and canyon conqueror Aron Ralston travels to Utah searching for new adventures (IMDb, n.d.). In search of adventure, he makes his way through a mountain crevasse. However, suddenly a heavy rock jams his hand, and now Aron has to survive under the circumstances. At first, he tries every way to get out. However, after trying in vain, he takes a camera and records a video message to his family, and he regrets not telling any of his family where he is going.

Thanks to a small supply of water and food, he manages to survive for over five days, but when supplies run out, Aron is faced with a choice: either amputate his hand or die. Aron successfully amputates his hand, climbs out of the crevasse, and finds the tourists, who call for a rescue helicopter. Under normal circumstances, man’s instinct for self-preservation would never have allowed him to cut off his hand, and it is unlikely he would have agreed to such a painful procedure. However, when a man’s whole life is at stake, the instinct for self-preservation is compromised.


To summarize, man is willing to go far beyond his usual capabilities to survive under extreme conditions. In this paper, I have considered two such precedents: the consumption of food that was initially not intended for this purpose and the disabling of the instinct of self-preservation. A person can only endure terrible pain in order to survive. Moreover, the brain will allow the loss of the body’s chat only when his whole life is at stake. Thus, one can conclude that human capabilities are greatly enhanced in extreme situations. This peculiarity is very interesting and can serve as a basis for further research on the subje


IMDb. (n.d.). 127 hours. IMDb. Web.

Rumi, R., & Rumi, F. (2019). Flood victims eat rats in Bihar’s Katihar district for survival. The times of India. Web.

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