Born in Paris, Dufourmantelle was a philosopher, and wrote about risk. “Absolute security — like zero risk — is a fantasy,” she said; risk is an important part of achievement. “When there really is a danger that must be faced in order to survive, for example during the Blitz in London, there is a strong incentive for action, dedication, and surpassing oneself.” In 2011, Dufourmantelle even published a book on the topic, Éloge du Risque (Praise of Risk). People who embrace risk get the most rewards; others shun risk for a “supposedly all-protective” security, and “Today, we desire this over-protection.” Yet “Being alive is a risk. Life is a metamorphosis and it begins with this risk.” Dufourmantelle clearly lived her philosophy: on July 21, she was on the French Riviera and saw two children floundering in the Mediterranean Sea. She immediately went into the water to save them — but struggled in the same undertow that was endangering the children. She drowned; the children were saved by on-duty lifeguards. Dufourmantelle was 53.
From This is True for 23 July 2017