Saturday, 14 August 2010

A bit of introspection


The file of the Norfolk/Lakes Walk book is now uploaded to Lulu for publication. Parallels Support sent an email detailing fairly complicated procedures which resurrected Windows and all my data. 
I have nearly finished reading A Spirit of Adventure by Colin Mortlock. Colin was a  climber and president of Oxford University Mountaineering Club and later undertook epic kayak sea journeys. He had a career in youth adventure training and seventeen years as a director at Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside. Colin has published two books outlining his well respected and influential theories on youth adventure training
A Spirit of Adventure is an introspective study defining decent human qualities and an ethical and moral way of life. I have found reading philosophy and ethics difficult, partly because the complexity of the subject demands creation of an invented technical language, and, arguably, some of the concepts may be impossible to put into words. Colin is not an academic in these subjects and he writes largely from his own experiences and thoughts with welcome clarity.
My last post referred to my technology struggles. Colin analyses desirable virtues including determination, persistence, and self discipline, providing of course they are directed towards good and not evil. He alludes to positivity and making the most of the large amounts of untapped potential that most of us are unaware of having - such personal development makes a positive contribution to the human condition whereas the opposites lead to its degradation, atrophy and decay.
I recognise that my bouts with technology demonstrate my qualities of determination and persistence, motivated, I think, by a desire to retain my own self esteem, and a dread of seeing myself as a quitter, but could this also be a form of egoism ? I hope I shall continue to search for my huge untapped potential.

3 comments:

Barrett Bonden said...

He's a lucky man if he can say for certain that determination, persistence and self-discipline are not going to result in evil. Hitler had all three. Note that these qualities take no account of anyone else's existence - very Nietzchean. It's probably OK given the self-reliant projects he went in for, but there must have been times when he was relaxing between being Superman, down at the pub, in front of the telly, talking to his relations, when his nature - if unsoftened by anything else - may have been a liability. Especially in the case of a half-pint-of-mild character, unaware of his potential but suspecting there isn't any, looking up from the bar and seeing this guy in blue lycra tights and a big S on his chest, bouncing in purposefully through the pub door. "Oh Gawd, not 'im!" Of course it is frequently the case that many of the people you and I have admired would have been socially insufferable.

Sir Hugh said...

BB - A major part of the book hinges on Colin recognising himself in his youth in the image you lampoon, and taking stock of this with the benefit of maturity and increased wisdom from older age, resulting in a self developed sense of humility, and an honest, if somewhat naive attempt to make some sense of human qualities and behaviour. Of course he recognises and discusses the negative possibilities of these qualities.

The “virtues” I quoted are only three of twenty six that are discussed in the book , and most of the others involve relationships with others. I used these three solely to illustrate the point I was making about myself.

This is not a profound or academic book but I believe it is an honest attempt to identify the problems of human society and to make some suggestions for improvement. Colin has spent most of his life making a positive, individual, and well respected contribution to education, and unfortunately there are not many people who can say that their life’s actions have left such a positive legacy.

gimmer said...

CM had more or less left Oxford by my time but we met up in Wales once and did a gruesome new route on the far east buttress of Cloggy - he was pretty supportive then, so some of these 'leadership' and psychological training aptitudes were already well developed: I understand he stopped hard climbing after the death of a friend and went on to do the things you write about.
Yes, he was pretty single-minded, but an inspiration, not a scold.