Thursday, June 21, 2012

Alexander Discovered Rocks and Dirt

An interesting observation I've had Cappy Cappites.  Another mountain-hiking inspired epiphany brought about by the fact my MP3 player stopped working (it's amazing how many epiphanies I have while hiking without my MP3 player).

This one is the observation that after long and grueling hikes and climbs, after thousands of calories of energy burned, and after much planning, plotting and scheming about how to summit a peak

in the end

when you finally get there

every peak

has had nothing more than dirt and rocks at the top.

Some had snow, but all had dirt and rocks.

And this an epiphany did make.

Understand that I was brought up poor and in Wisconsin.  Wisconsin does not have mountains, but when my friends at school returned from their summer vacations and showed me pictures of Rocky Mountain National Park or Glacier or Yellowstone I was literally mesmerized by the pictures.  "Whats up in those mountains?  Where are these mountains?  Whose been there before?  Did you climb to the top of them?  Why not?"  I had never seen such a thing with my own eyes, but my visceral response was that I NEEDED to climb them.  I NEEDED to see what was up there.

Quite pathetically, when we would visit my grandparents in Minnesota we would drive through a bluff region of Wisconsin, the peaks of which never went more than 200 feet, but to a human only 1/4th the size of a full grown adult, they may as well have been mountains.  All I wanted to do was climb them and I would beseech my father to pull over and let us climb just one of them

"No, we have to make it to Tomah before 7PM."

So blame it on unfulfilled child psychological reasons, when I finally had the money and the residency near mountains BLAMO!!!!  I climbed every mountain I could.

In the Black Hills there is only one peak (Crooks Tower) that I haven't climbed that is of any significant height.  I've hiked straight through the upper part of Badland's National Park both east-west and north-south.  I did Halley's Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park as well as Deseret's Peak in Utah.  And since the Big Horn Mountains are withing 3 hours drive to the west, I've been tackling several mountains and lake hikes there.

But as time has gone on and I've fulfilled more and more hikes a very sad observation came to me - I'm the only one doing these hikes.

Oh sure, occasionally I've had a friend or a Meet-Up hiking buddy join, but the vast majority of my hikes are by myself.  And the reason they're by myself is multi-fold.

1.  I'm in excellent shape.  Not to brag, but to do a 16 mile hike with a 4,000 foot elevation gain and all under 8 hours, there's not a lot of people who can keep up with me.

2.  I have minimal obligations.  When it's Friday afternoon and I finish up whatever project or call I'm working on, BLAMO!  I'm out the door driving to a mountain range for the weekend.  I have no children, I have no wife, I have no car payment, and I can afford the gas and lodging (assuming I'm not camping).  If I decide to go, not only can I afford to go, I CAN go because there's only one person to account and accommodate for.

3.  I just plain have the desire to go and climb mountains and take long hikes.  As a kid when I first saw the Badlands from the main road, the badlands formations went on forever.  It made a young boy's mind wander and ask "what else is out there?  Who has been out there?  What will I find if I go out there?  Can I make it out there?"  That has never left me since the 8th grade and now when I see a peak or a map or a lake or just a far off butte, my brain is predisposed to wonder what treasure I will find AND it provides my the psychological determination to commit myself to that hike.  Regardless, most people do not have that curiosity nor that determination.

Getting back to point, regardless of the reason, what I find myself doing more often than not, is summiting a monstrous peak, finishing a dehydrating hike, or just plain achieving an impressive physical feat only to turn around, look around and see I'm the only guy on top of this mountain.  Or I'm the only guy returning to my Chevy parked in the Buffalo National Grasslands.  I'm the only one shouting for joy that I found a rare fairburn agate in Ardmore, SD. 

There's nobody there.

Now what makes this depressing is NOT that I'm alone.  I know all of you "nursing home scare-tactic freaks" always love to say, "you'll die ALL ALOOOOOOONE!"

That is not what I'm talking about.

What I'm talking about is what happens when you start to master or excel in a certain field to the point you no longer have peers or people you can associate with or compare against.  There's nobody to turn to and say,

"Hey, we did a kick ass job! Don't you agree!?"

You don't even have rivals or enemies to compete against.  Tesla had Edison.  The Joker had Batman.  Hogan had Colonel Klink.  There was at least SOMEBODY to provide a standard against.

But, if you are fortunate enough to excel in whatever hobby it is you choose to pursue, and you continue to progress in that endeavor, there will be fewer and fewer people you can relate to.

Now I didn't bring this up to get all sappy and sad on you guys, but as a sincere and legitimate observation for those of you in the Manosphere AS WELL as any woman who achieves excellence in whatever field or hobby intrigues her-

There's only rocks and dirt at the top.

Men of the Manosphere, REAL men, men who follow their genetic and intellectual programming will ALWAYS pursue some kind of study or discipline that interests them in an attempt to master it.  Not only will the majority of men succeed, they will be interested by multiple disciplines and hobbies and also excel in those as well.  But there is an ultimate drawback or a disadvantage for men in the Manosphere embedded in our nature

We have unlimited time and financial resources to dedicate to these intellectual pursuits.

Much like my hiking is put 3 standard deviations to the right of the mean by the fact I have no children, no wife and no obligations, so too are all of your personal hobbies and intellectual pursuits.  In having no family, no wife/husband, no children, just yourself, you have an INORDINATE amount of time and resources to dedicate to your own interests and desires.  With such an amount of resources you will not only quickly master whatever hobbies or pursuits you're interested in, but rapidly surpass your married/obligated peers to the point you'll be all alone.

You'll be the Jimmy Hendricks of guitar players.

You'll be the Duke Ellington of Jazz composers

You'll be the Cappy Cap of the fossil hunting, motorcycle riding, ballroom dancing, economists.

And you'll have nobody to compare, compete or just plain converse with.

Now, does this mean I'm advocating you self-handicap yourself and not achieve your own personal best just so you can have a social life? 

Hell no. 

All it means is that you are on the fore-front, the vanguard, the production-possibilities curve of whatever particular interest piques you.  It also means that you are more likely to go down in history as an "expert," a "connoisseur" that will be remembered for your advancing of the field.  It is just an observation and a somewhat-of-a-warning that if you do decide to focus on your own potential, it's a guarantee you'll achieve it, but it's a warning as to just how few people there are at your level when you do.  And like me when it comes to fossil hunting, or Roosh when it comes to visiting different countries, or Victor when it comes to mastering self-discipline, you will be that "freak" 4 standard deviations to the right of the mean.

Or to quote an Alexander the Great quote:

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."


The Great and Powerful Oz said...

"You'll die all alone!" Yeah, that's my plan, probably somewhere in the middle of the South Pacific. Odds are my sailboat and body will never be found. And nobody will notice that I'm gone.

Anonymous said...

not to be a dick, but no one has unlimited time and resources....

Also it's Hendrix....

Anonymous said...

Interesting post and very true. I don't know how old you are but I am pushing 50. I am also pretty fit - especially for my age, I bike 40 k a day to work and back most days (I also have two cars). But you will find that as you get older you get lazier. Famous people who accomplish great things tend to do them while they are quite young. 30 appears to be about the cut off. Alexander the Great would be an example of this, as would Edison, Einstien and Newton I didn't understand this until fairly recently. But the older I get the need to accomplish great things recedes. I haven't accomplished too many great things in my life but I have a successful career, financial security and a good family. Now I am content to relax a bit. Keep kicking ass while you can because I think the desire to do that will recede as you age a bit more. - minuteman

Anonymous said...

"Not to brag, but to do a 16 mile hike with a 4,000 foot elevation gain and all under 8 hours, there's not a lot of people who can keep up with me."

There is no way you're alone. Walking 2 miles an hour all day is relaxing. All kinds of blue collar workers do a hell of a lot more in 8 hours, maybe even 12 hours for some of those crazy oil rig guys.

Stop hold up college office dorks as competitors, it's like winning the special olympics. :D

Differ said...

That was deep and not a little melancholy.
Not sure I can say anything else - advice is not mine to offer, besides, with a wife, three kids and a mortgage, I'm not in your boat.
However, I do push for occasional solitude to enjoy the world on my own terms but enjoying it with others has its own charm. Finding the right balance between the two is the key for me.

Pulp Herb said...

Uhm, Cap, not to rain on your parade, but if this is true:

You'll be the Jimmy Hendricks of guitar players.

You'll be the Duke Ellington of Jazz composers

Where the hell are these guys.

It's more than just doing that you need. You talk about mastery, but really I think you're setting the bar low.

The masters of climbing aren't even in the states or even on Everest much. They're on K2.

The level you're talking about is best in a town or small city, not the world. Sure, being the best guitar player in Casper, Wyoming or even Denver, Colorado is going to be somewhat isolating, but it's not going to be Santana or Paige or Hendrix or VanHalen.

It's more like Mark Knopfler. Which, hey, that's damn good but you need to maintain some perspective.

CBMTTek said...

@anon 4:03

Sounds like you have never hiked 16 miles with a 4,000 ft. + elevation gain.

Average human can do that, including rest stops, at an average of about 1 mile an hour. The Captain is doubling that pace.

Having hiked/climbed many a mountain myself, I can say, without fear of contradiction, the Captain is in a class of his own. There are very few individuals that could sustain that pace just because they work in a blue collar job everyday.

And, the point is not whether Cappy is an outstanding athlete, it is that when you achieve an unusual level of expertise, you also leave behind the average folks. You end up alone, with no real competition, and there are only rocks up there.

The point is that competition is what makes us better, the desire to "beat" that person of equal ability to the top that makes humans strive. It is also the shared sense of accomplishment, when you make it to the top one or two steps ahead of your competition, and they promise to devastate you next time, and you look forward to it.

Would Coca Cola be the soft drink powerhouse it is if Pepsi was not always nipping at their heels?

Dan said...

You are still a young man...
enjoy it while you can.

However....when I was young I
was content to be alone much
of the time. But time changes
things. To quote a line from
Star Trek TNG.... "I always believed that I didn't need children to complete my life. Now I couldn't imagine life without them." At about twice your age I
am glad I reconsidered and became a father. Life was great before's been even better since.

Aurini said...

My own passion stems from the same thing; driving. I grew up in a small town, 15 minutes away from the big city, but with a mother who was so terrible at driving that I never got to leave town. Heck, the 5 km away embankment to the west beckoned to me.

Have you read any of Larry Niven's scifi? I think you'd really connect with some of his pilots; crazy, single adventurers, flying spaceships, alone for months at a time, encountering bizarre anomalies, and relying upon their intelligence and mathematical ability to survive and impending disaster.

All very realistic science, too, not the star trek techno-babble.

Dystopia Max said...

At some point Alexander might lament that he hadn't trained a successor. His own, or adopted.

Randy said...

why can you only relate to peers in your certain field? Why can't you relate to people who are just as good in different fields that have worked just as hard or come just as far?