In 1974, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit gained fame when he walked on a high wire he had installed between the Twin Towers in New York City. His unauthorized feat was watched by thousands of people on the ground. He performed "in the sky" for 45 minutes, making eight passes along the wire. When he finished his performance, he was arrested by police. Later, the charges against him were dropped in exchange for a performance for children in the heart of Central Park.

To think about – or discuss with a friend   

  • Phillippe’s act involved a high degree of risk of hurting himself. Why do you think he did that?
  • Many activities that we engage in involve some risk of getting hurt or hurting others. Nevertheless, most of us still choose to engage in some risky activities. What makes it so?
    • What makes you do risky things?
    • What risky activities would you not do? Why?
  • Why do different people perceive risk differently? What do you think affects how people rate the risk involved in activities such as walking on a wire, speeding on the highway, diving off rocks, using drugs, or gambling?
  • What are the potential positive as well as the potential negative aspects of gambling for you? What plays a role in which activities/behaviors we consider “worth the risk”?
  • Gambling is associated with risk. What can you do to reduce its risk and make it a more positive experience?