Instincts

Our instincts as humans are slowly dimming the less time we spend in wild nature: rainstorms, cold, whiteouts, loose rocks, adventure. Climbing is an important and sacred opportunity for us to exist in situations that we faced a hundred thousand years ago. The animalistic side of human beings. Our instincts are an important element of our intelligence.

~ Reinhold Messner

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Judgement

As climbers, we are inventors of our own goals, and must decide on our own how to achieve them. There is nobody else there. Nobody to control. We do extreme, dangerous things, and nobody else can say what is right or wrong. There is no moral loathing. We have only our instincts about human behavior, and in the end we are our own judges.

~ Reinhold Messner

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Success

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children […] to leave the world a bit better […] to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Lulled into a trap

We tend to think that what we see is all there is — that there is nothing we cannot see. We know it isn’t true when we stop and think, yet we still get lulled into a trap of omniscience.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2016/10/the-island-of-knowledge/

Admiral Ackbar called it correctly in Return of the Jedit, and this too is a trap. There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but they are generally of two types: the harder, science ways, and the softer, experiential ways. Both of those types have their traps. If one is strictly a follower of the hard, science paths up the mountain, one will be lulled into this trap of faux omniscience. And if one is a strict follower of the soft, experiential paths, one will be lulled into a trap of… well, I’ve not travelled much on those paths. My prescription is those travelers would do well to try these hard, science paths more. Therefore, I should try those soft, experiential paths more.

Which path are you currently on, and do you have a pattern of choosing one type over the other?

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The mid-point

At the mid-point of the path through ife, I found myself lost in a wood so dark, the way ahead was blotted out. The keening sound I still make shows how hard it is to say how harsh and bitter that place felt to me —

~ Dante

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Scarcity

Cognitive load matters. Mullainathan and Shafir believe that scarcity imposes a similar mental tax, impairing our ability to perform well, and exercise self-control.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2013/12/scarcity-why-having-too-little-means-so-much/

Short of food: starving. Short of water: dehydration. Short of money: in debt. Short of time: over-committed. Short of attention: distracted, mindless. But also, short of outlets for creativity? Short of satisfaction? Short of peace? Short of meaning?

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All that will be

Let me tell you, then, how you must think of me. I am as happy and lively as in my best days. Indeed, these days are my best, for my mind is now free of preoccupations and has leisure for its own concerns; now it amuses itself with lighter studies and now, pressing keenly after truth, it rises to the contemplation of its own nature and the nature of the universe. First it investigates the continents and their position, then the laws which govern the sea which surrounds them with its alternate ebb and flow, and then it examines the stretch which lies between heaven and earth and teems with such tumultuous and terrifying phenomena as thunder and lightning and gales and the precipitation of rain and snow and hail. Finally, when it has traversed the lower reaches, it bursts through to the realms above where it enjoys the fairest spectacle of things divine and, mindful of its eternity, moves freely among all that was and all that will be world without end.

~ Seneca, from Consolation of Helvia (20)

This type and period of writing is referred to as “silver point.” It’s highly polished, almost performance art in itself. Some pieces of silver point—including in my opinion swaths of Seneca’s writing—are tortuous to the language. (As I understand it, tortuous in the original as well as the English.)

What I’ve quoted is the ending of his letter. 2,000 years later, sounds to me like the human experience remains identical.

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Impregnable

But the man who puts all of his time to his own uses, who plans every day as if it were his last, is neither impatient for the morrow nor afraid of it. Is there some new kind of pleasure that an hour might bring? All are familiar, all have been experienced to the full the rest Lady Fortune may dispose of as she will; his life is now impregnable.

~ Seneca

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Closed loops

The point of life is not to get things done. But life is better if you are able—at your own pace, if and when you want—to get things done.

Aside: In addition, other people will like you if you are also consistent and reliable.

The point of reviewing what I’ve captured is two-fold. Get everything done, (some of which I may have freshly captured yesterday.) But also to not do things. Yes, it’s delightful to finish something; it’s delightful to close a loop. But it’s also delightful to simply not do something. I have countless ideas, and the vast majority of them get captured… and then summarily deleted to be not done.

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