funambulist /foo-NAM-byoo-list/. noun. A tightrope walker. From French funambule (tightrope walker); from Latin funambulus; from funis (rope) + ambulare (walk).
“But after a week there had been an office crisis. The cabaret editor died on the job, in an incident involving a French funambulist and seven live eels (one of which was in flames).” (Will Self)
“It was a funambulesque exhibition sans parasol. To race with deft, sure steps, to grease his way through rather than ponder on equilibrium—that seemed the safest measure.” (Henry Miller)
“But then, perhaps one needs to be conceited, or at least to have no doubts about oneself, if one is to prosper in funambulism or any other métier that requires absorption of the mental self in the physical self, an absorption that is indistinguishable—as you point out in the interview—from concentrated thought.” (J. M. Coetzee)
“Electrical wiring that had lost its moorings hung like a clothesline for the laundry. Pants and shirts floated like truncated sentries while they slept. On windy nights the garments danced on the wire, friendly funambulating ghosts.” (Rohinton Mistry)
“Science, particularly its academic version, has never liked negative results, let alone the statement and advertising of its own limits. The reward system is not set up for it. You get respect for doing funambulism or spectator sports—following the right steps to become ”the Einstein of Economics“ or ”the next Darwin“ rather than give society something real by debunking myths or by cataloguing where our knowledge stops.” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
“Almost all of my patients who have found themselves in such situations use the image of a tight-rope to express how they feel: and this, indeed, is almost literally true, for they have become ontological funambulists above a pit of disease; or, in an allied metaphor, they seek a vanishing still-point amid total exorbitance — thus Leonard L.’s tortured wish: ‘If only I could find the eye of my hurricane!’” (Oliver Sacks)