Climbing Everest

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

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, community, creative writing, Environment, faith, Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Climbing Everest

  1. Abby says:

    Love this. We can all only do what makes us happy, for whatever reason, and not concern ourselves with a future that is promised to no one. I will not be climbing Everest, but I have my own metaphorical mountains to climb…one day at a time.


  2. nelle says:

    Well reasoned and pragmatic, CD. It’s a bit early, but a Newcastle would taste quite good about now. 🙂


  3. barbara says:

    We would all go insane if we were to dwell too deeply on what might come next. There’s a reason most 12 step programs promote ‘One day at a time’. It’s truly all we’ve got.
    I’ll be raising a glass to you soon my friend! It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!


  4. As you suggested, most of us have the privilege of entertaining our delusions of grandeur.
    In my humble opinion, life is to be lived one moment at a time. That’s all we have isn’t it?


  5. **Asked why he climbed it, someone famous replied “because it is there” ***

    I was hoping for some profound, insightful, deep answer. How sad.

    Wanna know a secret? I feel as if I’m climbing Mt. Everest this very moment. Metaporically speaking, of course…

    Love love love your perceptions about life, God, the Universe, Ducky. Xx


  6. Intersting essay–thought-provoking. Here is the thought you provoked in me: doign anything extreme “because it’s there,” seems ridiculous to me (I know, I’m being judgmental for a Buddhist, but at least I’m aware of it!). Some people are driven to accomplish very challenging physical feats, but are they willing to do something equally (if not more) challenging: deeply and sinserely explore their inner landscape? Not run from the inner feelings that frighten them?

    I know too many athletes that will test their bodies beyond all measure, but refuse to contemplate their personal challenges…because those personal challenges are “there, too.”


  7. Yes, I believe there is a certain running away from ‘ourselves’ in all this conquering external challenges. What is wrong with just standing in awe of a mountain, and exercising the strength of our spirit? Excellent reflection. Thank you!


  8. Lady E says:

    Haha, I’d missed you CD ! What a great post to get me started on thinking out loud again… I agree with your analysis around the power of choice, but think that too many of us take a short sighted view on our situation – I am often guilty of that. we get preoccupied with having a second bathroom, our own comfort and that of the people immediately around us, but lose sight of the majority of humankind in the barren places. Likewise, our politicians just try to grab votes by promising immediate results, because this is what we vote for, when in reality, we should think about long term consequences for our actions, and strategies (I’m not atlking about when the sun dies long) but at least 10-20 years ahead. It is a hard thing to do in a society which increasingly values and expects immediacy. 🙂


  9. Christine says:

    “We are slowly discovering the benefits of alienation one added bathroom at a time.”

    Often when I read your posts on line can say soooooo much. You have such a beautiful way with words 🙂


  10. eof737 says:

    We do what we can and the rest is up to the higher powers. or dust. 😉


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