It is easy to be a passive consumer. It is easy to let things impose their will on you. It takes very little effort to just sit back and enjoy. There is something to be said for that – enjoying the simple things in life is commonly heralded as a key to happiness.
I propose to reject that common belief. I propose everyone to climb the mountain.
What is Climbing the Mountain? It’s the notion that a mountain can offer far better joy at the top, looking down. Sure, a mountain is beautiful and majestic from ground level. It is a manifestation of tectonic movements, and you can enjoy the full scale visually without ever setting foot on it. You can see its peaks shrouded in clouds, or watch as its rough edges pierces the blue sky. But you unless you climb it, unless you conquer it, you will never truly understand it.
There is much to be said for those who enjoy climbing mountains. It is hard, and when the weather is not on your side it can be unfruitful when you reach the top. It is painful, and takes time. Sometimes, the view at the top may be lackluster. The landscape that you look open may be bland and dreary. For the conqueror, these are simply superficial joys. The joy he derives is not the view, but the journey. As a climber, he is the one who is imposing his will on the mountain. He truly understands more than the observer who never undertakes the task, the majesty of the mountain. With each step, he understand the size and the strength of the mountain, and when he reaches the summit, he has enjoyed the mountain in a different scope than those that would not.
Climbing the mountain is the idea that looking for deeper meaning should not be frowned upon or avoided. Instead, a deeper understanding should be sought after. It doesn’t take away from the surface level enjoyment of whatever you are enjoying, but it does offer different viewpoints. Perhaps even deeper viewpoints, and layers of ideas that may not only change what you initially think of something, but enhance it – and make more beautiful. Climbing the mountain is not only limited to things with just a surface level of enjoyment, but things that are incomprehensible without effort on the side of the consumer. The key point here is that there is much beauty to be seen on the active front, and it is something that is far more deep than anything that can be experienced on the passive front.
Lets take Shakespeare and Picasso as our most extreme. Those who do not seek to understand, can never appreciate the works of these artists. Someone who never put in time to acquire the tools to understand Shakespeare and his use of language could never understand the layered emotion in Shakespeare’s work. Nor can someone understand the beauty of Picasso. The meaning behind the abstract is more than absurd but purposeful. It conveys more than just the cubes and colours, but feelings and ideas only revealed to those who choose to look further.
A fan who enjoys basketball on a tactical level, enjoys it far differently than a casual one. The fan who has climbed the mountain can enjoy the screens, the different sets that the teams run, the small adjustments on offense and defense, the ebb and flow of the game, while also enjoying the inhuman feats of scoring by star players. The fan who has climbed the mountain enjoys the game on a deeper level, and derives a satisfaction from great team work, and understands the beauty of the game when each person clicks together and works effortlessly.
Nowadays, we are too easily entertained by media that panders to our sense of passivity. Movies and shows are dumbed down and simplified so that we don’t need to put in any effort to enjoy them. They are written so that we can lie down and switch off our brains. Shows such as the Big Bang Theory, or Stranger Things. They’re written from a simple algorithm that engages the primitive. But we are humans. We are thinkers. We are doers. And we are mountain climbers.