For a variety of reasons, I am fond of stories that deal with mankind at the end of his tether, in extreme conditions. Those who are well-equipped to survive have a knowledge of what can be done and what resources exist to survive in the harsh and unfriendly elements. For example, right now I am watching a television show called “Dude, You’re Screwed” (which is not exactly very polite language) with my roommates, watching a fellow who had successfully managed to walk 50 miles without food in Alaska. I do not think I would be well qualified for that sort of survival test, but some people are and it is fascinating to see such people manage to cope with the difficulties of the situations that they find themselves in. Always there is the complex interplay between the mental aspects that make it possible to avoid counterproductive actions as well as the physical realities that we must all deal with.
Of course, survival against the extreme elements of a place like Alaska (and Alaska seems rather typical for this sort of incident) is not the only sort of survival experiences that are intriguing to watch. Often it is fascinating to watch people survive the more mundane pressures of life, and to see just how many areas of life can simultaneously go wrong while a person has the resources, whether their own or from another place, to cope with what is going on and to figure out what can be done about the situations of life that spice up our existence and make life more interesting than we would necessarily prefer. We would certainly all prefer to have fun, but sometimes life is more a grim slog of survival rather than an entertaining sort of journey. Obviously, we do not want to be riding the struggle bus for our entire existence , but at times it can be very useful to cope and to test our boundaries.
In such cases, the fun largely comes after victory. After surviving and overcoming struggles, we have stories of excitement and adventure that will last our entire lives. We will always know, whatever happens in the future, what we were capable of overcoming, and what we endured. The pain and discomfort is temporary, but the glory is far longer lasting. This is especially useful when we can use our experiences to encourage others, and when the struggles we overcome have moral and spiritual lessons that help us to become people of more noble character. Hopefully our struggles are such that when they are over we can celebrate with others, enjoy some good food and witty conversation, and share the stories of our scars  and laugh over the excitement and adventure of our lives, while we prepare for the next adventures that we will face..