Technology They made the news. Christian Clot, back to the surface after 40 days spent deep in a cave

They made the news. Christian Clot, back to the surface after 40 days spent deep in a cave

Christian Clot, explorer who took part in the “Deeptime” operation. (SEBASTIEN BAER / RADIO FRANCE)

April 24, 2021. For 40 days, they will remain voluntarily confined in a cave in the Pyrenees, 400 meters deep. Seven women, eight men aged 27 to 50. And this April 24, all find the light of day alongside Christian Clot, the explorer who leads the expedition. “By the time we learned that we had spent forty days, in our minds we were at about thirty days.” The operation, called “Deep time”, aimed to understand how humans react in a hostile environment, when they no longer have time marks. Equipped with sensors, the volunteers therefore spent 40 days without a watch, telephone and natural light.

Underground, everything went well. But the return to normal life was not easy, says today Christian Clot, the head of the expedition: “Where we have a difficulty which in my opinion will remain, it is this injection of everything that is asked of us: telephone, email, Facebook, Instagram … All these things that force us to follow rhythms a little. . It is very difficult to readjust to it “, explains Christian Clot.

In forty days, the explorer realized that it was a “immense freedom to be able to decide when we do things, what it means to do things and not to have this kind of social obligation to be present all the time, on the networks and to say to oneself: there I can take a break, I’ll take a step back. “ Christian Clot is partly nostalgic for this “freedom regained”. “Our worlds move very quickly, which is why we are doing all these studies on adaptation, that is to say, trying to find out how we are adapting to this world which is constantly accelerating. We have more and more tools that are supposed to help us and they take more and more time from us. It’s a real paradox “, he says.

Forty days in voluntary confinement was too nearly too short for the seven women and eight men who took part in the experiment.

The proof: when we announced the release, almost everyone wanted to stay. We did not understand that it is already over.

Christian Clot

on franceinfo

The explorer observed that participants may have more social interactions in isolation than in normal life: “We had more time to talk to each other, to discuss, to exchange, to go into depth in the discussion and not in this kind of surface discussion that we have more and more with our loved ones. we met people in the true sense of the word. “ In the outside world, “you can very well decide to spend more time with your friends, your family, people you meet”, he continues. “But often we hardly scratch the surface of reality. We also need to have more political correctness, to have a kind of permanent consensus that we could consider as ‘soft’. Finally, how do you really meet someone today, in a context where we always have to go a little fast and be wary of what we say? “

From this experience, Christian Clot learned the participants’ ability to cooperate in extreme conditions. “I had anticipated it a little bit, but not at this point, to see how much a group of novices were able, because they cooperated, to find solutions. Finally to find themselves well in a system that somewhere is aberrant: without any access to time, at 100% humidity and 10 degrees. These are not conditions we are used to living in. Very quickly, the group managed to find functional systems to live in. these conditions. It fascinated me and reassured me a lot somewhere. “

“There were discussions, times when we didn’t necessarily agree, but again, very quickly, they were resolved through discussion and a fairly simple kind of acceptance. We all understood that we were was a little dependent on each other, that is to say that we were only these fifteen people in the cave and that without the others, we could not do much. Very quickly, we understood that if we were in perpetual conflict, it wouldn’t work “, concedes Christian Clot.

Deeptime required 1.2 million euros in funding, an investment that was worth it according to the explorer: “We have seen it with the Covid-19: we no longer really know how to react well to unknown, improbable and unforeseen events. I believe that today we are helpless because we lack understanding on what a human group is in the face of new situations. You have to go and understand that. “

“The more I explore the world, the less bland everyday life seems to me”, confides Christian Clot. “You have to be an explorer all the time and everywhere. It is not just elsewhere that there are extraordinary things. Our neighbor can be extraordinary if we take the time to listen to him. That’s it too. exploration. ” The first scientific results of Christian Clot’s Deeptime experiment will be known in a few weeks. The explorer is already preparing his next mission to study how man adapts to very different climates. The expedition will take him to the Amazon, the desert, Patagonia and Siberia.

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