Personally, I am not into caving. While not particularly claustrophobic, the idea of belly crawling through tunnels so tight that your back touches the roof with every breath leaves me stone cold. However, others see it different. For instance, Matt Covington a professor of geology from the University of Arkansas describes it this way:
“Covington didn’t feel claustrophobic underground; he felt at home. The rock walls offered a kind of embrace. As a boy he used to flop around so much in his sleep that he often fell on the floor. Rather than climb back up, he’d crawl under the bed and stay till morning. He felt better there, beneath the springs, than he did looking up at the ceiling in his big empty room.”
– In Deep, the dark & dangerous world of extreme cavers, By Burkhard Bilger, New Yorker, April 21, 2014
The point is that human beings can interpret the exact same stimuli, the same situation, in many, many different ways. So is that tight, tight crevice a panic inducing claustrophobic hell? Or simply a warm embrace, a thrilling adventure? We should be more humble in our definitions of the truth, more flexible in our understanding of how many forms reality can take, of how much our world views impact, even create, the situations we find ourselves inhabiting.
‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heav’n of Hell, A Hell of Heav’n.’– John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book I