Okay. I just read this article on CNN about how a slew of climbers hoping to get to the top of Mt. Everest are having to go away disappointed. Why? Because the Sherpas aren’t taking them to the top. There was a big accident a bit ago, and for various reasons, the Sherpas have individually decided not to go–whether it’s out of respect for the dead, fear for their own safety, or other reasons.
And I’m reading the article, and suddenly the ludicrousness of this whole situation became apparent to me. You hear about all these explorers who trek off to conquer Mt. Everest. How brave they are. How daring. And what happens when the Sherpas decide they personally don’t want to go on any of these expeditions?
Those brave, daring explorers pack up and go home. They realize that without the Sherpas, there’s not a chance in the world of them making it to the top of Mt. Everest.
Which leads me to wonder . . . just how brave and awesome are these explorers? Because I’ll tell you one thing you’re not reading at all: any articles about Sherpas wanting to go to the top of Everest but not being able to because the brave explorers won’t let them.
What this seems to be to me is nothing more than a bunch of rich people giving poor people a pittance in return for giving the rich people a piggyback ride to something the rich people can brag about later.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure those rich people are very brave and daring and all that (in comparison to me, at the very least), but if we broke it down a bit, what is is they’re accomplishing. Say there’s a river that’s swift and hard to cross. And an explorer comes along and says, “I want to cross that river, because I’m brave and daring. Is there anyone who will carry me across?” And a bunch of locals–who’ve crossed the river plenty of times–roll their eyes and say fine, and they carry the explorer across . . .
What exactly does that explorer have to brag about after the fact? You know what it reminds me of? Brave Brave Sir Robin.
If people want to do brave things, maybe they ought to do things they can do themselves. And if someone wants to focus on a person’s brave exploits, maybe they ought to focus on the people who make those exploits possible.
Then again, isn’t this what we seem to do as a people in general? Focus on the flashy and ignore the elements that make that flashy possible? The quarterback gets a lot of credit on the field, but without the offensive line, that QB ain’t doing a thing. (I know–I’m a BYU fan.) Can anyone think of other examples of this? Today’s blog post is basically a knee-jerk observation. I’d be interested to hear what other people have to say on the matter.