Sunday, June 2, 2013

Is Mt. Everest No Longer a Goal Worth Reaching.

View from Mount Everest Base Camp on the mighty summitLast week I heard an interview with Mark Jenkins on KPCC radio's the Story Series.  I would recommend listening to this interview before
you get up to do anything else.
I usually stay away from opinions because I want to present themes and ideas for others to discuss.  However, Jenkin's interview further validated my thoughts about the general laziness that has surfaced in America's culture. It is a behavior that needs to be addressed as it is producing a lower social order behavior in mankind/humankind.  To be more clear, this isn't a putdown on Americans but an attempt to reintroduce American standards and what it means to respect nature, one another, and the ethical purpose of meaning in activities.

Blue and white Mount Everest Base Camp houses with streamers running between themTechnology and capitalism is allowing virtually anyone to climb the highest mountain on Earth - Mt. Everest. But with this there is a price; as the deaths on the mountain have skyrocketed.  Unfortunately, few people know the history, the mystical or the spiritual experience of climbing Mt. Everest.  Presently, anyone could gather the funds and hire a team to climb Mt. Everest with virtually no experience.  As Jenkins states, "arrogance and hubris" killed many of the people who have died attempting to climb. He also states his disinterest in climbing the mountain due to inexperienced climbers, "less than 50% have the skills to climb the mountain."  Capitalism has caused the every day person to now just whimsically decide that they want to climb the mountain.

Here is my bias.  Mt. Everest should be climbed by mountain climbers that appreciate the goal of reaching Hillary's Step.  The Summit should not be obtained by those with ego's that want something without working for it.

This idea of goals and earning something that is deserved makes me think of my father.  As a child he had my respect but at times I hated his parenting.  I hated that he made me wax the car manually.  I hated that he enforced my mom's rule that my bed had to be made before I started my day.  I hated that he expected only A's on my report card (B's and C's were present - but his expectation was an A).  I hated that my summers were spent giving him accounts of projects that he gave me. I hated working hard at Baseball and practicing extra hours to earn a higher batting average - after all, I just wanted to play and have fun.  I hated working harder and harder to improve my aim to home plate from outfield.  What my father gave me I would not really understand until decades later.

I made the All-Stars Little League.  I became a division I athlete in college.  But what I really learned from my father, unknowingly, was how to engage with goals. How to respect and honor goals.  I have learned to respect those that not just achieved but rightfully earn goals.  After hearing Jenkin's interview I realized that my father was an integral  part in my earning my Ph.D.  I earned it. I worked hard for it. There were three times that I almost did not complete it.  But I did.  I had support and help; but, I worked hard for it.  Thus, my thinking is that only people that are willing to put in the time, the energy, the hard work, and willing to risk and sacrifice should earn the Summit.

I think this is were the laziness discussion needs to be more present in our American culture. We as a country have lacked the aire of excellence.  Everyone should not climb Mt. Everest.  Everyone one should not become celebrities.  If this happens then the value and meaning of this experience is tarnished.  The idea of hundreds of people climbing Mt. Everest is nothing more than a hubris.  That is why there are more deaths.  If we are not careful we will have to pay for the spiritual disregard of honor, respect and achievement of mankind. 

On a side note:  Oprah Winfrey's Master Class presented Lenny Kravits on Sunday night discussing his grandfather's parenting on "follow through" and how it helped him set goals. 

Read more about Dr. Strayhorn's practice and philosophy...

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