Tuesday, 30 July 2013

...and the pursuit of arbitrary & fruitless goals

These thoughts were prompted by:
What motivates explorers to venture into the unknown?
This is my dilemma- on the one hand I have enormous admiration for the accomplishments of selected individuals. The glory of the human form being capable of achieving feats, that require enormous  physical strength as well as psychological determination and courage, is nothing short of marvellous.
On the other hand I often feel that the substance of those accomplishments are trivial and arbitrary. They lack no intrinsic value, other than the accomplishment in and of itself. This I find not only pointless, but it is a waste of my time, in following them, and their talents in pursuing such fruitless tasks.
For clarity, I am not specifically referring to sports. The modern sporting arena is more a form of entertainment through the means of athletic endeavour than an intrinsically important activity for mankind and civilization in general. The stadium of today is more comparable to the cinematic experience than it is to real life.
I am specifically referring to are those superhuman feats, triumphed by unbelievably talented individuals, which are completely meaningless to everyone except those involved in the mission.
Rowing a boat across the Atlantic, hiking across Antarctica, climbing Everest, sky diving from space etcetera etcetera etcetera.
To be fare, there are people who use such extreme activities as a means to raise money or awareness of noble causes, which can make the actual 'event' a means to a nobler end. It appears, however, that more often than not, the altruism of the 'athlete' is more of an afterthought than a guiding principle.
But what about those people who do it just for sake of it? Is the fact that humans can endure such difficult circumstances and accomplish such feats enough merit to warrant our interest, our respect and our admiration?

I suppose my frustration lies in the missed opportunity. If people could use their talent in the service of world, rather than fuelling their own egotistical and existential hunger, how beautiful might the world be?

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