Being Is Enough

Thought I’d write a few lines here again about this and that, you know. Vacation is going splendidly, if I can call working 30 hours a week a vacation. It seems like a vacation because I have loads of time to do stuff or do nothing, whichever I prefer. And when work is over, it’s over; no homework involved.

Yesterday I started out late in the afternoon with a rather ambitious plan to ski up to treeline and come down in the dark. That plan was shelved immediately at the trailhead when I realized I had forgotten my skins and didn’t want to spend the time driving back through town to retrieve them. Skiing uphill without skins is not an option so I packed up boots and skis and hiked up a little ways but soon gave that up. I had a large pack to hold clothing and night gear; with skis and boots attached it was too much of a load to posthole through the woods with.

Tonight I attended a 2 hour long avalanche class as part of the process to get a backcountry permit to ski or snowshoe in wilderness area. I hope to ski or snowshoe the peaks sometime this winter and think a little knowledge of how avalanches kill might be helpful. Especially for this lowlander who still likes looking at slopes too devoid of oxygen to grow plants.

Avalanches are kind of a depressing topic. According to the speakers tonight, only 1 in 10 avalanche victims live through them, and finding and digging up your likely-dead buddy requires several hundred dollars worth of specialized gear. Another sobering fact is that slides kill those with the most knowledge of how avalanches work. Avoiding them is largely a mind issue; solo skiers are in the least risk of danger because they take the fewest risks and can make clearer decisions. The last avalanche death in Flagstaff was in 1995—not sure if that decreases or increases risk…

The title of this post is the title of a book written by the economics professor that I will have next semester, which I am now reading. I recently finished Ishmael *by Daniel Quinn, and *Being is Enough follows a similar train of thought. Namely, that humankind has little reason to advance technologically at the expense of the environment. The thought is that property rights and greed have corrupted humans to the point that we are destroying the earth with no increase in happiness and prosperity to show for it. Where these books fail is that they do not propose any solutions beyond individual moderation, which would actually seem to be a pretty effective one if practiced by everyone. Rather these authors soon cave in and find the present situation hopeless, and getting worse fast; with little hope of correction presented, who is going to guide society through such a cataclysmic change? Nevertheless, these are worthy books that everyone should read. They’re guaranteed to provoke interesting thoughts and conversation. Being is more important than becoming, the journey sometimes more interesting than the destination.

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