All men by nature desire to know. - Aristotle
Writing about climbing is so much like writing about life - maybe because climbing is such an integral part of my life, as well as of my personal identity - at least at the current stage of my humble development. After spending a couple of days cloistered inside with my books, class presentations, radiator, and antibiotics, i am ready again for the sensation of being outside and striving for a clear, designated objective. An objective that requires technical skill, persistence, self-knowledge as well as self-management. The sun is out, the streets smell of spring - people are walking in their usual blind way, rumbo por aqui, rumbo por alla. And the rock is calling again.
What climbing offers are a plethora of appealing features to the initiated ones, the patient ones, the ones with a mind and body to understand. It offers knowledge - only for a second or two, or for the eternity, - but it offers knowledge. Understanding of basic things, movement, fear, physical limits. And understanding of a deeper, intellectual kind. Maybe Richard Sennett is right in his lamenting the disassociation between spirit and hands in our evolving and so highly advanced societies, the disrespect for what the greeks refered to as poesis, the making with your own hands. This disassociation keeps so many of us seated, in front of our computers, typing emails, and moving the mouse until tendinitis, until only glasses can help our tired eyes, until only violent stupid movies can distract the dazzled mind. So much information - so little knowledge. So little time to acquire, internalize, and objectify the knowledge.
Climbing is a synthesis, a physical challenge with a mental twist. Maybe poesis is not the best metaphor for climbing given the absence of any concrete results of this "making". However, can't the creation of memories be considered a good enough "making" result? Memories of achievement or memories of failure, underlined by bruises on the knees, scratches on the elbows, torn nails, twisted toes, and dilapidated skin. Memories of falls, memories of rage, memories of the state of total weightlessness, what Kundera so inspirationally called the unbearable lightness of being. Their confluence leads to a perception of understanding, of commitment, defining a style of life, an identity worth pursuing, worth writing about, worth living.
To be continued...