“Never yield to remorse, but at once tell yourself: remorse would simply mean adding to the first act of stupidity a second.”
-Nietzsche, The Wanderer and his Shadow
Up to this date 2014 has been a good year for contemplating death. While as many people have no doubt died in the past nine months than in any other such time, several of them have really set me back. There was Phoenix’s close brush, Rob, Cody Roman’s disappearance, and today Andreas Fransson.
Fransson was a rare combination of cutting edge athlete, contemplative individual, and talented and prolific writer. The essays and journal entries on his website add up as complete an account as currently exists of why risky activities are a vital part of the human condition. Since I began backcountry skiing not too many years ago I’ve struggled with the risk/reward balance available within that activity, just as I did with climbing and mountaineering many years ago. I quit ice and alpine climbing because that calculus didn’t add up for me, and to this minute wonder how far into skiing I’ll ever be willing to go. Fransson’s work and life (he would tell us the two cannot be coherently separated) remind me that while backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering may not balance out properly for me, they certainly did for him. When making such decisions it’s appropriate to include loved ones, but within the bounds of appropriateness the general public may only observe, read, and ponder.
As Fransson himself says at the end of the above video: After laying at the bottom of the Y Couloir in Chamonix, barely clinging to life, I realized that the end does not mean pushing until death. It means pursuing your dreams until uncertainty, risk, and adventure begin to fade. For at that point what was supposed to be magic will seem to become routine, the exact opposite of it’s intention.
How we find it is an uninterrogable choice, but we owe it to every other living person to find a way to break with routine, and thereby live a full life.