Going out for a little walk

For anyone remotely familiar with me, you’ve noticed (by now hopefully) that I’ve gone off the beaten path in the last couple of years. Now if you are in my parent’s group you will have no idea why I’m doing the things I’ve been doing.

A lot of people remember George Mallory’s quote about why he climbed Everest: ‘Because its there’. Now for those who follow Ben Saunders (Polar Ben), might remember his incredibly inspiring TED talk about ‘Why Bother Leaving the House‘, a topic on which I had blogged earlier. Ben quoted George Mallory’s response to what is the use of climbing Everest.

My answer must at once be, ‘It is of no use. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron.
If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.’

Now I’ve wanted to go checkout Everest for a while but after seeing the Ben Saunders talk, I definitely knew I had to do it. So in the spirit of leaving the house, I’m heading on an everest trek next week. Now I don’t want to climb everest (yet), but I definitely want to go sit on Everest’s footsteps and maybe get a feel of how Mallory felt when he first encountered the mountain. To make things slightly challenging, I’ve scheduled back to back treks. So the day I reach Kathmandu from everest, I’m flying to Himachal to go on the Saar Pass trek. I’ve never gone for a month long trek where I’m walking every single day but hopefully my body holds up and I feel the same joy for life that Mallory once talked about.

What if there was no internet

I recently watched Danny Hillis’ talk on ted.com about having a Plan B if the Internet crashes. That reminded me of an old South Park episode “Over logging” where southpark loses internet and Randi’s struggle with life without internet. Both of them concentrate on how life would be without internet. So lets ask the hypothetical question “What if there was no internet”?

Admittedly its going to be tough the first couple of weeks. We might have to read newspapers to get the news, get out of the house to make friends, buy items at the local grocery shop. Post offices will get back into business. But its not unreasonable to expect that things will be ok. Governments and companies highly dependent on the internet might require a longer transition time but I they should be fine as well in the long term.

There are a lot of smart and not so smart people who have dedicated their lives to a career linked to the internet. They will be forced to look at other avenues to explore. After all these millennia we still dont have  a decent knowledge of deep underwater exploration. The recent giant squid discovery was fascinating and who knows, James Cameron might discover something as well with his submersible. So underwater and outer space exploration might be the direct benefactors of not having internet.

For a generation whose lives have been wedded to the internet, we dont know the feeling of sitting on a motorcycle and driving off without a destination. Exploration of the unknown seems an alien concept. Maybe that will change if there was no internet. George Mallory’s views on adventure are very profound. I’m leaving you with another thoughtful ted presentation:

Ben Saunders – Why bother leaving the house

[ted id=1631]