Not one of your ambitions. Not seriously one of mine either but I’ve thought about it. The sense of achievement, the amazing views, joining a select club, a fresh perspective on the curvature of the earth and those who live on it. No doubt the list could go on for some time. Slight problem, of course, you can’t actually live there. It’s a place to visit and a unique experience but not a final objective.
Asked why he climbed it, someone famous replied “because it is there” which certainly makes sense and the answer has echoes that resonate through our sensibilities. Of course we visit many places, “because they are there” and do many things, “because we can” but it doesn’t actually mean the results will be either rewarding or nourishing, or unrewarding for that matter. The advantage of democracy is that we make the wrong or right choices in a muddled and over convoluted manner so that we sometimes have the time to back away from the consequences before we get into a real mess. As for dictators, the better they do initially, the worse the mess they or their country seem to end up with in the end. One thing seems reasonably clear: the power of choice combined with limited wisdom equals mess, and the more short-term your substantial goals are, the bigger the long-term chances are that you will end up somewhere unpleasant.
In the more barren parts of the globe choice in the form of whimsy is pretty much the stuff of fantasies and feeding, sheltering ourselves and our children encompasses all our waking thoughts and energies. In the more prosperous areas, man has, in some cases, seized on the relative plenty of his circumstances to concoct goals and schemes which ultimately produce little in the way of greater happiness for them or anybody else. We are slowly discovering the benefits of alienation one added bathroom at a time.
We can worry about this as much as we like but in a couple of billion years the sun will go out and so, sometime before that we, our valuable painting, manuscripts and anything else you hold dear will vanish into particles in some new entity yet to be discussed or imagined. For others God has a greater reality in which our ultimate destination remains shrouded in some mystery. Whatever our pre occupation the great ticket collector, wether it be God or the dwindling power of the sun will ask us to move along and make way for some other phenomenon.
In the meantime I am left with my own pre occupations. My personal happiness and security, together with that of my friends and family: my immediate hopes and concerns for the well-being of the world as far as I can see it, and a continuing faith in the powers of real ale which produces a calming influence on all who drink it. Cheers