Friday, November 18, 2016

The End of the Truth

The Pope did not endorse Donald Trump for US President. On the contrary, after a trip to Mexico he questioned the Christianity of a person who would prefer to build walls rather than bridges. 

A part of me wants to check out. After Everest I looked at my pictures and videos and GPS tracking points, evidence I was there, and realized a skilled high school kid could fake it all. It's depressing. I know quite a few people who doubt that humans contribute anything to climate change, yet they understand you can die from carbon monoxide poisoning in your garage. They are pretty similar concepts, but a report in the journal Science as a link has essentially the same weight as a bogus article by a group of programmers in Yugoslavia. In the past getting published was a privilege, something that gave credibility to the ideas. And to be fair most books, scientific magazines and  newspapers still have very high editorial and fact checking standards. But on the internet that doesn't matter. After all, I could write pretty much anything and someone might take it as fact. 

Working in engineering we spend a lot of time getting to facts, and not making decisions based on opinions. Readers don't take the same credibility standards to journalism that they do vehicle warranties. We live in echo chambers that reiterate what we "like" while keeping us from those ideas we disagree with. 

I want to write a book about Everest, but I wonder, what is the point? The idea is to say, 'this is how I did it, this is how I would recommend you doing it.' But I am struggling to see the value because while I hope everything I write is the truth, I know it is only my perspective. Based on the perspectives of people I know, which seem detached from reality I have to wonder, 'how detached from reality am I?'

As long as I keep asking myself these questions, I'm fairly sure I'm living in reality. It's when you are sure you understand everything and don't question your view that you probably are not living in reality. Still... I feel like none of it matters. I dread retirement. What happens when you quit? When you toss in the towel, how do you define your life's work?

It's nearly impossible to have a conversation with people who don't acknowledge the facts. Yet we are all obstinate in our own way, so it's a two way street.

Should I write a book? Would anyone buy it?

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