A soft flickering flame from a candle transforms the atmosphere of a room: it gives life. It is intense and full of energy and therefore never fails to catch our attention. Clearly we crave the qualities of a flame to be present in our homes: more and more companies have started selling candles as a response to increased demand. But what is the deeper reason why we are somewhat addicted to starting a little controlled fire in our homes?
Firstly, most of our actions and desires can be tracked back to caveman times. The discovery of how to start a fire gave them a higher probability of survival: food was sanitized lowering the probability of food poisoning, the light emitted warded of predators and energy given of as heat kept them warm. These benefits of a fire are perhaps no longer as essential but we are still protective of the flame that subconsciously makes us feel like we have the upper hand…in our sitting room…watching Netflix…surrounded by food.
Next is the element of danger that entices us to an open flame. Firemen get a VERY positive response from women because battling a fire seems like one of the bravest professions out there; coming into contact with a natural baddy every day. Watching fire performance is gripping as the audience knows that any minute they could witness a terrible event. Little kids play with candles; running their fingers quickly back and forth through a flame, feeling extremely cool that they didn’t get burnt. Danger is linked with the unknown and it is the human nature to want to explore it. Fire is a slightly forbidden sin that we enjoy flirting with.
Lastly, the most advantageous reason why we desire a miniature flickering flame in our houses is because it makes us feel happier. An open fire, long ago, was the center of the community in the evening drawing everyone in and therefore strengthening relationships. And it has been proven over and over again in multiple studies that social cohesion is an essential element of an individual’s happiness. Moreover, our ancestors probably craved to gaze into the open fire as it brought them a sense of calmness and relaxation. This assumption is based on a number of studies that have measured the people’s blood pressure before and after watching an open fire. One of the conclusions was:
‘The researchers found an average of a five percent decrease in blood pressure among participants who watched the fire with sound. The longer they watched the fire, the more relaxed they became. The researchers hypothesized that when we’re sitting fireside, all of our senses become absorbed in the experience. Having a calming focus of attention could help to reduce anxiety’
-Christopher Lynn, an anthropologist at the University of Alabama
So there you have it all these subconscious associations and ancestral shenanigans have led us to stocking up on IKEA tea lights hahahaha.
Lots of kisses,