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Thread: Fire

  1. #1 Fire 
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    While camping over the years, I've noticed how people like to stare into a fire pit for hours on end--almost in a trance.

    What is it about fire (from a scientific standpoint) that is so mesmerizing? What is the biology, physiology, neurology/cognotion associated with such a henomenon?

    PS: Answers like, "Connects us back to the caveman years of our evolution" I've heard before and are not very satisfying.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    i personally look at a fire to see the dancing patterns, although i regret it later when i find out my face is hot enough to cook an egg. maybe i shouldn't sit so close.

    but seriously the ever changing pattern is what gets me watching.
    especially if someone applies a flamable liquid.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    I too enjoy just watching a nice small wood fire in a fireplace or at a campsite. The nice feelings of the warmth and glow make me feel rather good. I like to meditate while watching a fire for it is very easy to lose oneself in the flames and embers. Sometimes there's a pop and crackle sound that is also good to hear for it's as though the fire is alive and talking to me about what it is doing and feeling.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Sophomore 8873tom's Avatar
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    Fire is mesmerizing, however I haven’t got a clue why from a scientific standpoint just a few suggestions:

    I think our minds want to try and find order in patterns that are so complex and continuously changing – order masquerading as randomness.

    Maybe we stare at fire out of respect. An element which we find so hard to control and which is so destructive should be observed when it is being viewed in a controlled state. Maybe respect in a sense of thanks; where would we be now without fire?

    I personally sit transfixed in front of fire out of owe. I think scientifically, the fact that fire isn’t matter at all, rather a visible form of matter changing form, fascinates me.

    Did you know if you were to light a fire in microgravity (inside the space shuttle), it would form a sphere! Neat huh

    How Fire Works
    What was God doing before He created the Universe?
    Before He created Heaven and Earth, God created Hell to be used for people such as you who ask this kind of question.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8873tom
    Fire is mesmerizing, however I haven’t got a clue why from a scientific standpoint just a few suggestions:

    I think our minds want to try and find order in patterns that are so complex and continuously changing – order masquerading as randomness.

    Maybe we stare at fire out of respect. An element which we find so hard to control and which is so destructive should be observed when it is being viewed in a controlled state. Maybe respect in a sense of thanks; where would we be now without fire?

    I personally sit transfixed in front of fire out of owe. I think scientifically, the fact that fire isn’t matter at all, rather a visible form of matter changing form, fascinates me.

    Did you know if you were to light a fire in microgravity (inside the space shuttle), it would form a sphere! Neat huh

    How Fire Works
    thanks for the thoughts and the helpful link.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Sophomore 8873tom's Avatar
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    No worries. Good thread - interesting topic.
    What was God doing before He created the Universe?
    Before He created Heaven and Earth, God created Hell to be used for people such as you who ask this kind of question.
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  8. #7  
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    The simple answer is nobody knows. There may have been a selective advantage for sitting still near the fire (ie you won't get eaten by a lion or fall in the fire), but I am not sure how this could ever be determined. What hypothesis could be proposed that could be tested or disproved?
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  9. #8  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    I think it's the colors myself. Just as people will sit and watch a cool light show for hours and be upset when it's over. I was just watching a few camp fires this weekend, and yes I would just sit and watch the fire for hours. The hot coals really were also captivating. I really think it's just the colors and the movement.

    Anyone ever notice we won't notice something in a room if it never moves?
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  10. #9  
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    of course...how am i supposed to know if some serial killer is in my room if he never moves. even then do i realy...
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  11. #10  
    Forum Sophomore 8873tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daniel tillett
    The simple answer is nobody knows. There may have been a selective advantage for sitting still near the fire (ie you won't get eaten by a lion or fall in the fire), but I am not sure how this could ever be determined. What hypothesis could be proposed that could be tested or disproved?
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by (In)Sanity
    Anyone ever notice we won't notice something in a room if it never moves?
    You can look at something everyday but not actually see it.
    What was God doing before He created the Universe?
    Before He created Heaven and Earth, God created Hell to be used for people such as you who ask this kind of question.
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  12. #11  
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    I think all of the above suggestion have some truth in them, but you have to realize espacially the campfire is very attractif. I'm pretty sure many people do not stay all night staring at there firehood at home (although they sometimes will, and probebly will start thinking of the campfire).

    What's my point...

    while camping there is not much visual variation. Every input is fixed on listing, talking and perhaps some guitar playing. Your guests you have seen al day, so the campfire is your perfect distraction. And because its getting cooler anyway your best partner to keep the night going.

    He's your party partner!!

    I love him (the campfire, ofcourse :wink: )

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    he who forgets...will be destined to remember (Nothing Man - Pearl Jam)
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