By Itxaso Garay
Alone. The pitch dark engulfing you entirely, drowning you. Fear saturating the heavy air, constricting your lungs. Most of us wake up, sweating and shaking from a nightmare like this; but for 33 men in Chile this horror is much more than a dream, it is a reality.
On Aug. 5, there was a cave-in inside of a barren mountain in Chile, trapping the men inside a small area. It took two full weeks for rescuers to able to drill small holes far enough in the ground to be able to reach these miners, who, surprisingly were all still alive. All the miners had been rationing food that was only supposed to last for two weeks, but the miners were astonishingly able to still have extra by the time rescuers communicated with them, although nutritionists believe each man has lost an average of 20 pounds.
The hole drilled is large enough to send down nourishment and communication devices; unfortunately, the hole is not large enough to rescue any of the miners. Worse still, the rescuers will not be able to create a hole large enough for the miners to fit through until Christmas. Psychologists have chosen not to tell the men of this fact until recently, in fear of the repercussions.
This situation will not only test the moral limits of these men, but it will also try the aspects of human nature. It is a test of the parts of human nature that rely on interaction; surviving four months in a small, pitch dark, cramped environment can provide insight through the support or dependence the miners provide each other. This insight can be gained no other way. Without each other, the miners might lose their minds and die.
In the cave, the men have each other to depend on for clarity, companionship, and reason.
By interacting with one another, the miners keep each other sane.
Alone, down in the dark tomb, all they can hear is each other; thoughts may begin supportively but eventually, poisonous little ideas of despair, depression, and hopelessness might seep in. Not only would talking with one another support the men, it could also protect against the realities of their situation.
By communicating, the miners can keep those dangerous thoughts of giving up at bay. They show their strength not only in the way they remain focused, but also how they help each other survive.
To help another human through this trauma, the miners must be able to have the strength to support and nurture their companions’ physiological well-being. If someone is ready to abandon all hope, another individual must step up to support them, although they might also be tired of struggling to survive and ready to also surrender. Those miners, who have the strength to fight for the survival of others, have to be strong enough to force themselves to believe what they are encouraging their fellow miners, not to lose hope.
33 Chilean flags wave in the chilly, winter wind on the slope of the mountain where the mine is located. When the President of Chili asked what the miners needed, the leader simply replied a speedy rescue and for the country not to abandon the miners.
The miners depend on communication from the outside world for their survival. Interaction increases the bond and relationship between humans. The miners need that bond to be powerful, so they have no doubts that the country would ever abandon them.
How the miners keep each other alive through communication shows the importance of human interaction. The whole world is now using the fundamentals of human interaction to support the miners in their time of need. Every country hopes for a quick recovery of the miners trapped miles below the surface of the earth.