Reporter Column: Gruesome Curiosity
Reporter Column: Gruesome Curiosity
  • Reporter Kim San
  • 승인 2023.11.07 20:18
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Reporter Kim San
Reporter Kim San

  Am I eccentric? Or, is there someone else like me too?
  Gruesome curiosity – that is a new word I learned recently. Of course, I have always had a quality of gruesome curiosity in me; I think we all humans do to a certain degree. But learning to put a name to it felt almost like a revelation because I can now explain many of my behaviors by ascribing to it. Like, for example, when I witnessed a young couple violently arguing on the street one evening, I could not help but find myself eavesdropping on their feud as I walked past them. Or, when I witness a traffic accident, part of me is repelled by the sheer atrocity of the scene but at the same time drawn by an inexplicable intrigue. It’s morbid.
  I find it equally morbid that I sometimes crave the feeling of sadness. Yes, I realize I might come across as emo, but bear with me on this one. It is complicated to describe the exact state of sadness that I crave, but I think it could be best described as a “simulated sadness”. It is simulated as, for example, one would enjoy the simulated danger of riding a roller-coaster at an amusement park. I know I am safe, and I know I am allowed to explore the full extent of my emotions within the scope of the sandbox. What follows a simulated sadness is a sense of catharsis, the feeling of empowerment of a sort. So, precisely speaking, I enjoy the catharsis that often follows simulated sadness. I ascribe this behavior to gruesome curiosity, because it is counter-intuitive to yearn for something that is not pleasant at hand but has nonetheless a quality of satisfaction.
  I once watched a Netflix series on Ted Kaczynski the Unabomber and, on separate occasions, read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Those individuals from two different centuries have one thing in common: they lived, for an extended period of time, alone in a small cabin in the woods surrounded by nothing but nature. No electricity. No artificial light. No ready-made food. No running water. No companion. They lived a self-sufficient life by harvesting vegetation and fetching water from a nearby stream. Imagine how dark and silent it gets at night; how silence can be so loud sometimes; how agonizing to spend all those times alone for years. Nevertheless, I cannot help but be at least intrigued by what it would have been like. I am no expert in philosophy nor psychology, but I bring up those two individuals because I have realized simulated sadness can be experienced when I am usually alone.
  Belgium was where I could feel simulated sadness. There was an imbued sadness to the way our town cathedral lit up at night, and how it cried the bell every 30 minutes. There was an imbued sadness in the sunsets that were so violently red so as to dye my black irises merely by looking at it. There was an imbued sadness in the so-extremely-vast forest – La Forêt de Soignes – which surrounds the entire Brussels region. The way I felt extremely alone in the forest was often juxtaposed by the ever-so-welcoming nature with its poignant scent and majestic-looking trees; juxtaposed by the occasional encounter of a fellow human being – usually a runner – with a nonchalant and reassuring nod, acknowledging each others’ presences. Amidst these times spent alone in simulated sadness, I felt empowered and independent. I have come to realize the true value in human relationships only when I have gone through these periods of solitude. This is very different from being needy or dependent. It is rather realizing that you need people to live.
  So, am I eccentric? Or, is there someone else like me too?