Tuesday, April 07, 2009

One hundred years...

I'm late posting this. I should have done it before midnight.

On April 6th, 1909, the North Pole was discovered, or so my informative calendar tells me.

Does that count as a discovery? I mean, it's not like they had to search for it. Just keep heading north until you can't go north any more. If it starts getting warmer, you've gone too far.

I wonder how they felt? Wandering through snow and ice to a patch of snow and ice that looks like all the other patches of snow and ice except there's no direction but south when you stand on it. Were they disappointed to find it wasn't marked with a stripy pole? Did they install one? I think they should have.

Sometimes, when I'm awake all night in cold drizzly weather, I think I have it rough. It's things like that north pole expedition that make me realise I have it easy. I can, at any point, give up and go home. I've never been faced with the realisation that 'give up and go home' means walking back hundreds of miles through freezing, dangerous conditions and even not giving up means walking back anyway. No rescue helicopters in 1909.

Then there's proving it. Imagine walking all the way to the north pole, walking back again, and being faced with someone who didn't believe you. After you've smacked them one, how do you prove you did it?

I don't think you can. There were no GPS systems in 1909 either. Nothing to pinpoint and record their position.

I routinely come across people who don't believe I've seen ghosts. It's irritating, and it's even more irritating because there's no way for me to prove it.

But putting it in perspective, at least I didn't have to risk frostbite, permanent injury and death on the way. I didn't have to trek for hundreds of miles through horrible conditions, then trek all the way back, only to be faced with disbelief and not be able to prove it.

It does make me feel a little more relaxed about the sceptics. Even if they don't believe me, I didn't risk my life to get the knowledge I have.

Some people do.

2 comments:

Southern Writer said...

That makes me curious. If you reach the north pole and walk one more foot, will your compass spin from pointing north to pointing south?

There will always be skeptics. You're a skeptic. It's healthy to doubt something that can't be proven, as long as you keep an open mind and realize it can't be proven YET. But someday ... who knows? Is looking for ghosts and looking for ways to prove there are ghosts the same thing?

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Romulus Crowe said...

Magnetic north isn't in the same place as true north but I wonder, if you were at magnetic north, how far you'd have to move before that compass did spin?

Looking for ghosts and looking for ways to prove them are the same thing to me. If I come up with a new method, I have to test it with a ghost and to do that , I have to find a ghost but if the method doesn't work I can't be sure if there's a ghost around, and if I don't find a ghost I don't know if the method works or not...

It can make your head spin, but until there is at least one certain 'ghost detector' device, we're shooting in the dark.

What I need is a friendly ghost. If I can stabilise one side of the ghost - method balance, I'll get results a lot faster.

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