This week, Noura tried to continue enduring the immunity challenge past the point of winning, so her tribe could have more time to eat the food reward for sitting out. Jeff told her that wasn’t allowed, but I thought he should have let her do it because it was a great idea. Survivor should never be averse to people innovating within the parameters of the game.
Jeff’s decision also more fully establishes that immunity challenges are only between the players. They are not fundamentally challenges with oneself. In other words, the players are not individually trying as hard as they can and then the best individual result is the winner. The ultimate goal is for players to defeat each other.
Although, I suppose this had already been established in the way that players have few restrictions on negotiating with each other about the challenges, or trying to undermine each other psychologically. Survivor is like the old joke about two hikers getting chased by a bear and one of them puts on running shoes because he doesn’t have to outrun the bear – he only has to outrun the other hiker.
I think there’s something unfortunate in this way of seeing the immunity challenges. It’s another example of how difficult it is to find the limits of human ability, because we often convince ourselves that our limits are relatively close to those of others. There might also be an ethical dimension. Many people claim that our ethics should be immune to peer pressure, but this doesn’t seem really possible if we judge the parameters of our actions based on the actions of those around us.
Just as a side note, why was Jack limping to the jury box? Did he get injured at Ponderosa? That’s a new one. Maybe “Surviving Ponderosa” will be a new reality show someday.