Exploration - Real-world survivors


According to popular culture, survival depends on rugged individualism, ruthless cunning and athletic prowess. In practice, however, real-world survivors more often exhibit benevolent leadership, personal sacrifice and endurance born of sheer will, says Jerry Dobson, a geographer at ORNL and director of Exploration of the American Geographical Society. Historical and recent events overwhelmingly contradict the rat-eat-rat mentality of shows like "Survivor." The misconception is perpetuated on television despite abundant real-world stories that prove what really works and what doesn't. Survivor's ethic most closely matches that of the infamous Donner Party, whose failings ended in cannibalism. In contrast, Ernest Shackleton, who led his entire crew to safety after being stranded for 18 months on Antarctica's ice, was described as "motherly" in his concern for each man's safety.

 -  Media Relations,  865.574.4160,  March 01, 2001

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