Risk makes life worthwhile

“Reproduction and mere survival have never been good enough for humankind. We torture one another, we torture ourselves, we torture the universe with our questioning, our endless strife, the tedious struggle against death. Even a simple hike up Whitney, even the mild walk and scramble to the apex of Sierra Blanco in Colorado, involves that element of risk and effort which compensates for the usual banality of our lives. We love the taste of freedom. We enjoy the taste of freedom. We take pleasure in the consummation of mental, spiritual, and physical effort; it is the achievement of the summit that brings the three together, stamps them with the harmony and unity of a point. Of a meaning. Trite solution to our problem, but there is no better: Men and women climb mountains — whether in the Rockies or the Himalayas — for the same reason that they blast off in rockets to the moon, launch poems and prayers at the stars, send symphonies of thought, music, mathematics and fiction into the highest and deepest reaches of the human soul. Because…it’s something to do. Because, there’s nothing better to do. Because of all our terrors, none is more terrible than boredom, the nothingness of a static existence, the infantile paralysis of Saturday night in Page, Arizona. Anything, anything — death in a drunk tank! — rather than that.”
–Edward Abbey, The Journey Home (1977)

Posted by | Comments Off on Risk makes life worthwhile  | December 22, 2008
Category: General

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