Why Do I Find the Destruction of Evansville’s Sycamore Building So Fascinating?
There's something about seeing something get absolutely destroyed I can't take my eyes off of. Is it a guy thing? Is it a "me" thing? Or, is it a human thing?
As you may know, demolition crews have been hard at work tearing down the Sycamore Building on the corner of Sycamore and Southeast 4th Street in downtown Evansville recently to make room for a new four-story building that will feature a food hall, commercial and office space, along with residential units, according to our media partners at Eyewitness News. Lucky for me the station is a block away which means I've had the opportunity to see the various stages of destruction.
During a recent stroll near the demo site to grab some lunch (and the photo above), I noticed I wasn't the only one who wanted to sit, stare, and watch the rubble fall. There were a small group of guys on the opposite street corner doing the same thing. Like me, one of them was holding his phone up to either also get a picture, or shoot a video I assume he eventually posted to social media.
So, what is it about watching an object get destroyed in some fashion that mesmerizes us? Or better yet, why do we enjoy destroying things ourselves. Think about it, how many times as a kid did you build a pillow fort, a house of cards, or anything for that matter for the sole purpose of tearing it down the moment you finished it, even if it took hours to complete? A trip down the rabbit hole of Google didn't provide any concrete answers because the human mind is a complex thing even those who have committed their lives to study it don't fully understand. But, they do know enough to come up with a theory or two that makes some sense.
I read through a number of articles and many of them mentioned both control and power as the driving forces behind our desire to see or engage in the act of destruction. Both of which are primal instincts. Long story short, we do it to see if we can. And if we can, it gives us the feeling of both. For example, if I see a stick in my yard that has fallen off one of our trees, I don't just pick it up and put it next to the fire pit to burn eventually. I pick it up and try to snap it in half, or break it over my knee. Sometimes I simply stomp on it to see if I can get to break that way (which then leaves me with more work because now I have two or more sticks to pick up). If none of those work, I'll swing it against the tree it fell from as hard as I can like I'm trying to smash a baseball over the green monster at Fenway Park; whatever it takes to give myself a silly sense of dominance over an inanimate object.
I think the fascination with watching someone else destroy something like the Sycamore Building isn't so much the destruction itself, but more about being envious of the people who are doing the destroying. Kind of a "That looks like fun. I wish I could do that" mentality if you will. With that said, there was something satisfying, and in an odd way, relaxing, about watching the arm of a crane with a massive claw on the end of it gouge, grab, and tear the Sycamore Building apart.
I'm just spit-balling here, but I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that as kids we were constantly told, "don't break it," when being allowed to touch something that was of value to whomever it belonged to. Maybe because we were told not to, it only made us want to do it more. Or, maybe it simply piqued our curiosity as to what would happen if we did break it. We wanted to see it, but never got the chance to, so when we are permitted to tear something apart, there's some overwhelming sense of freedom that we can just go wild.
Whatever the reason, I don't expect my fascination with it to end any time soon.
If you're just as fascinated with destruction as I am, then enjoy these...