Robert L. Peters

30 August 2009

Rockies redux…

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Banff National Park, Alberta

I’ve (once again) spent the last wonderful week of August in the Canadian Rockies, a well-established pattern over the past decades. This time around things played themselves out somewhat more low-key (and lower-altitude) than in recent years, as simply “being” trumped “doing”—I was quite worn in body, soul, and spirit and in need of over-due rest and hiatus, so schemes of summits gave way to valley respite. As in past years, I drove out west and back with Bettie (a considerable pilgrimage of nearly 4000 km, return), and the old Dame proved largely reliable once again (I did end up jury-rigging an exhaust repair in Medicine Hat when her “throaty” tone turned downright rude and intrusive).

My week started with a fine visit in the new/old Calgary home of long-time climber friends Gregor and Janice, replete with a tour of the town the following day (the organic farmers’ market was both a surprise and a highlight). Then it was on to Canmore (a visit to the ACC’s clubhouse/head office) and then Tunnel Mountain campground in Banff, with touristic day-tripping to the Cascade Ponds, the Lake Minnewanka loop, Johnson Lake, and the original Hot Springs on Sulphur Mountain. Later in the week, I moved further west to Lake Louise, with a pleasant day at Moraine Lake (I had never hiked the entire lake-shore trail to the glacial water-source before) and a reconnoitre with Gregor and Janice for a Friday trek up to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House.

A somewhat grueling 17-hour return trip across the wind-swept prairies brought me back to Ev’s in Winnipeg Beach at 03:00 this morning… both tired and quite rested at the same time. :-)

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
Psalm 121: 1, King James Bible

Images above: Retro signage at Banff Hot Springs on Sulphur Mountain; the surreal azure beauty of Moraine Lake; the Tower of Babel above Moraine Lake (I climbed the 10-pitch trad route along the left-edge skyline profile with Simon Statkewitch a few years back); my good mates Gregor Brandt and Janice Liwanag at a rest-stop; a view of the lower cliffs of Mount Lefroy and the exhilarating Fuhrmann Ledges by which we descended from Abbot Hut a year ago (this photo should help make sense of the bird’s-eye topo of the route I posted last year here).

 

 


27 August 2009

Burning Man…

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Black Rock City, Nevada

(from photographer Scott London’s fine collection of images, here)


26 August 2009

Wisdom…

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25 August 2009

Mid-century modern…

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Fairfax, Virginia

These are a few samples from a treasure-trove of hundreds of ad illustrations dating from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s… found here.


24 August 2009

A salute: John Locke (1632-1704)

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Belluton (Somerset), England

Philosopher John Locke is considered the first of the British empiricists, but is equally important to social contract theory. His ideas had enormous influence on the development of epistemology and political philosophy, and he is widely regarded as one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers, classical republicans, and contributors to liberal theory. His writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries.

Locke’s theory of mind is often cited as the origin for modern conceptions of identity and “the self,” figuring prominently in the later works of philosophers such as David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. Locke was the first philosopher to define the self through a continuity of “consciousness.” He also postulated that the mind was a “tabula rasa” (blank state), that is, people are born without innate ideas, and knowledge is determined only by experience derived by sense perception.

Some quotables by Locke:

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What worries you, masters you.

The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.

If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do much what as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.

Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.

It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean.

There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men.

Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.

Fashion for the most part is nothing but the ostentation of riches.

Where there is no desire, there will be no industry.

It is easier for a tutor to command than to teach.

That which is static and repetitive is boring. That which is dynamic and random is confusing. In between lies art.

Logic is the anatomy of thought.


22 August 2009

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20 August 2009

Hmmm…

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OK, just one more…

This would seem to be a fitting commentary on the stalled-out debate re: universal health-care being undertaken by our rich Southern neighbours (where the mighty[?] U.S. Dollar continues to trump humanity).


Greetings from… Romania.

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I chanced across a beautiful body of pithy illustrative humour by Constantin Ciosu today… much more to see at irancartoon.com.


Are unanswered questions not better than unquestioned answers?

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Winnipeg, Canada

I’m constantly amazed at how many people in this day and age seem to accept the status quo and appear content with whatever is apparent or convenient. It’s been my experience that an attitude of “Question Everything!” opens whole new avenues of exploration and discovery… often leading to totally unexpected and serendipitous opportunity. Einstein famously stated: “Around every corner lurk a plethora of possibilities…”* but to experience these, one must of course have the courage, and make the effort, to round those proverbial corners. There’s no doubt in my mind that our aspirations are our possibilities. Seek and ye shall find, indeed. So, question everything… and then keep questioning the answers!

*(my translation from the original German—I came across the quote on a visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin some years ago)

Image: one of a series of lovely illustrations about ‘Questioning’ that my friend Ronald Kapaz of Oz Design in São Paulo sent me.


A salute: Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

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Hanover, Germany

Hannah Arendt was an influential German-Jewish political theorist. Often described as a philosopher (a label she refuted), Arendt’s work dealt with the nature of power and the subjects of politics, authority, and totalitarianism— with much of her work focusing on affirming a conception of freedom which is synonymous with collective political action among equals. She theorized that freedom was “public and associative.”

A selection of “quotables” by Arendt that I find interesting:

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In order to go on living one must try to escape
the death involved in perfectionism.

Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.

Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and then they can pick it up.

The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative
the day after the revolution.

It is my contention that civil disobediences are nothing but the latest form of voluntary association, and that they are thus quite in tune with the oldest traditions of the country.

Nothing we use or hear or touch can be expressed
in words that equal what is given by the senses.

Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.

Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.

There are no dangerous thoughts;
thinking itself is dangerous.

What really distinguishes this generation in all countries from earlier generations… is its determination to act, its joy in action, the assurance of being able to change things by one’s own efforts.

Poets are the only people to whom love is not only a crucial, but an indispensable experience, which entitles them to mistake it for a universal one.

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.

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(It seems I’m into philosophers of late…)


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