Author Topic: Time To Think. Time To Act.  (Read 1240 times)

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Time To Think. Time To Act.
« on: May 23, 2019, 09:13:53 am »
What a joy Simon Beck's contribution to this forum has been. Devoid of politics and centred around his own thoughts and self analysis. The true spirit of caving.

I have always said that there is a spiritual connection with caving and diving. Not man against nature, not a bludgening force but a true symbiosis. Oh if only this translated into  "real " life. An alien world in both instances. My companion to The Frozen Deep this week kept thanking me for the trip. No my friend it is you I thank as you have understood and appreciated that wonderful place. Savoured the atmosphere and marveled at wonders there both big and small . I was honoured to share my humble photographs and experiences with you. As ever when entering there I am close to tears. The emotion of that first day comes tumbling back. I would have cried then had I not stood manfully next to Alison. Oh that did happen when I got home. So with 25 years of diving and 55 years of caving I am close to understanding that rise to a spiritual level. It rarely comes soon in either pastime. You have to learn and advance skills, practice and see what is on offer. You pit yourself against what you percieve as a challange. Is it always thus ? Eventually you pass that stage and evolve into a new comfort zone. Then at last you can see what truly is on offer. I always say to new cavers " dont fight the rock . It will surely win." Fitness and stamina help but the " understanding "is the key. You subconciously view each difficulty and reason the way through or around it. You take the easy route for you because of that understanding. Rarely does that process become obvious to you. It has become inate through the years. Its like riding a bike. One minute its all difficulty then its second nature. Oh some will say its the function of the cerebellum. But its also a spiritual understanding wherever that resides.
I could never foresee a spirtual dive. For me it usually happened when on my own. Time to think. Time to retreat into my personality. Not to be distracted by others. Maybe similiar to Simon's perceptions for clearly he finds it easier for self analysis and thought when on his own. Solo diving ? Yes. Most of mine were. I am not a follower of rules. Health and Safety is cramping our spiritual awareness. Maybe its necessary in the early days. Oh and never be concieted enough to think that you know it all. That is foolish. Survive by your awareness of self. Your " understanding " of the environment that you are in. Two spiritual diving experiences come to mind. Both solo. One at night in the hold of the Thistlegorm in the Red Sea. Wartime cargo of trucks with BSA motor bikes in. Just me and a huge grouper swimming side by side through those vehicles. Did we both share that same spiritual understanding of our environment? Maybe he just thought that I had some food. Another was solo mid water as I was encompassed by a huge shoal of barracuda. They passed me by with just a cursory glance whilst I marvelled at the spectacle. Oh there have been many more such. My old diving instuctor used to say " look at them darting around and seeing nothing ".
Caving can approach that awareness in a differant way. Often it is through the comments of others. The sharing of an experience. I would not really want to go caving solo in the same way as I did diving. There is more room for thought and introspection though. No deco penalty to pay for an extended visit to this alian domain. Utimately you have to think what can be your " reward " after decades in a sport. Past that point where you have " seen it all ". My reward, if you can call it that, is my humble ability to take and share photos. Maybe in forlorn hope that any spirituality will wear off on others and help them reach a point of understanding and self awareness that I believe I have come to. Also, as happened this week , to share experiences and speleological wonders with others who might appreciate them. Whilst changing for Reservoir Hole we are aften accompanied by tourists stopping to take photos. I nearly always initiate a conversation. ( Its a wonder we get down the cave on occassion ). They usually refer to the common perception of dark and dangerous. Just sometimes I help them see it a different way. Perhaps I will set up a stand there if ever I become too feeble to cave myself. Yes. Time to think and time to act. Maybe time to appreciate and understand. Take that journey into self. There is a lot of wood in those trees.

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2019, 09:39:17 pm »
You and Simon are two of the very few users of this site who seem to me to have a mature understanding of what caving can be at its richest. Caving for years before I knew clubs existed gave me a head start, and I'm glad to have passed by the stage of physical challenge and thrilling danger. The physical challenges are still there but they aren't important. There's no merit in feats of strength and risk-taking, but sometimes they're needed to get at the things that matter.

I have a question though. You use the term symbiosis. It has been the primary work of my life to understand how symbiotic existence in "real life" might be done. As things currently are it is far from possible. How is it possible in caving? How is isolated reciprocity with a cave accomplished?
My own theory is that it cannot be, and that only as part of a whole of a symbiotic life can the parts, like caving, farming, inventing, sex, eating, art, building, be truly wholesome or healthy or holy. Of course we have to try.

Also. I do not have the natural ability or the spiritual need to take and share photographs, or any of the tangible produce of my caving. What then do you think might be the reward for someone like me?

Online Fulk

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2019, 10:44:13 pm »
Quote
What then do you think might be the reward for someone like me?

Well, ‘I’m a simple soul . . . so I’d say ‘Don’t think about it, don’t analyze it, just do what you do for its own sake; enjoy it while you can’.

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2019, 04:05:43 am »
Quote
What then do you think might be the reward for someone like me?

Well, ‘I’m a simple soul . . . so I’d say ‘Don’t think about it, don’t analyze it, just do what you do for its own sake; enjoy it while you can’.

Reminds me of the poem:

Nothing is simple, not even simplicity.
Thus, throwing out the mail,
I exchange the simplicity of duty
For the complexity of guilt.


But you aren't describing simplicity, only careless, aggressive, ignorance, completely at odds with simplicity or any sort of spiritual health. By such a philosophy I am permitted to destroy my surroundings, waste without care, neglect my body, ignore all responsibility, rape my neighbour's wife... as long as I enjoy it.

Online Fulk

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2019, 08:28:14 am »
I think, Kenilworth, that you are putting words into my mouth that I never intended . . . . and you know it.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2019, 08:43:50 am »
A quick reply to Kenilworth re symbiosis. That which mutually adds to the wellbeing of each other and maybe difficult to explain in caving terms. Firstly. Does caving make me a better person ? Answer most definitely yes. I did karate when I was young and felt that it reduced angst, tension and any aggressive tendancies. Ie more self control. Diving helped          " self " as well as I learned a few yoga exercises to control my breathing which in turn reduced feelings off stress . It also made me methodical and controlled as you cannot make mistakes when using mixed gas. Caving at my age certainly helps my fitness and my self esteem. Hopefully I have learned that ego counts for nothing. There is no need to perform. Caving is not a job. In fact its the precise opposite of a working environment. It is an escape. A release. It embodies " hope " for what might be around that next corner.  Something no human has set eyes on before ? The Mendip Master Cave flowing off into the distance. ( for that read dream not hope ). It envolves companionship in a way as most of us need to " belong ". Social gatherings, the club. So assuming we consider true symbiosis what does " the cave " get in return. ( this the difficult bit ). Firstly lets hope it gets honoured and respected. Lets hope it gets protected as we have now released it from deep slumber into the careless realm of Man. Lets hope it serves as a model for education and awareness for that can feedback to the things I mentioned before.
As for what Kenilworth experiences I cannot say. Joy perhaps. Sharing. ( it would seem so. ) Thoughtfulness and appreciation. We dont all splodge photos all over the place. For me it is the essence of sharing. For others not so. Ultimately you have to find a reason for what you do or that which drives you diminishes and all fails.

Offline Mike Hopley

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2019, 11:35:07 am »
But you aren't describing simplicity, only careless, aggressive, ignorance, completely at odds with simplicity or any sort of spiritual health. By such a philosophy I am permitted to destroy my surroundings, waste without care, neglect my body, ignore all responsibility, rape my neighbour's wife... as long as I enjoy it.

That is perhaps the most stupid pretend-smart thing I've ever read. How the hell do you jump from "enjoy things for their own sake" to "rape my neighbour's wife"?

When all you care about is a one-issue agenda, you stop listening to what other people actually say. Their thoughts become filtered through the lens of your monomania.

Offline Laurie

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2019, 11:50:41 am »
Although I am no longer capable of going underground I still attend as many of our club events as possible.
Why?
I don't think it would be possible to find a better bunch of friends anywhere.
My club has supported me over the last 40 years or so, I've done my best to support my club over the last 40 years or so.
Symbiosis or not?
MNRC

Offline droid

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2019, 01:36:40 pm »
He's an interesting case is Kenilworth.

Just when you think you might understand, a little bit, his perspective on life, he pops up with something like his comment to Fulk....

Utter, utter nonsense.

I've met Fulk on many occasions. We might not (DO not) agree on all things but his humanity is beyond doubt.

Talk about overthinking stuff....
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2019, 05:13:42 pm »
Fulks comment sounds quite hippyish! If it were aligned like that, then it would also contain the caveat “do no harm”.

If you wish to believe that fulks comments are malicious then they would contain words to the effect of “sod it” (enjoy yourself), which it clearly didn’t.

There are many ways you can dress what someone has said but if you are wishing to achieve “symbiosis” then going around saying someone’s comments are “careless” and worse will ensure you never reach an status as symbiotic.

I can think of other biological metaphors for you, but symbiotic implies harmonious and not like a monkey puzzle tree!

Online Fulk

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2019, 06:34:24 pm »
Thanks for your comments, Droid.

As for me being hippy-ish – no, I don’t think so. I was merely making what I thought was a purely innocent contribution to this thread.

Somebody said, ‘What then do you think might be the reward for someone like me’ to which I replied that doing something you enjoy for its own sake could (should?) be reward enough. For that ‘somebody’ to infer that I meant that ‘doing something you enjoy for its own sake’ means ‘doing something bad’ is an utterly outrageous calumny.

And, TOR, I'm sorry if my remarks have somehow messed up your new thread.

Offline Greg Jones

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2019, 06:37:28 pm »
I am one of those who does not see Kenilworth's posts, so I don't know what he said; and I don't want to.

Brilliant OP by TOR. Though I'm not a diver, I did once snorkel with a large shoal of barracuda, and it was a magical moment that I will never forget.
Renegade!

Offline JasonC

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2019, 07:28:15 pm »
Firstly, a salute to the original post - that's a proper bit of rumination, that is :)

But, if I might be bold enough to venture that by "Not man against nature, not a bludgeoning force but a true symbiosis", the OR was talking about working with the grain of the natural world, not against it, so not really symbiosis as such.  After all, we need caves, but caves don't need us - they'd still be there even if no-one ever saw them.

As Fulk suggests, self-analysis about one's motivation for, and rewards of, caving is not essential (though he has written eloquently elsewhere on UKC on the subject) - but it is interesting.  There are some obvious attractions to caving, but pinning down exactly what it means to each of us is hard.  This is what makes it compelling when someone like the OR or Simon Beck attempts to articulate complex feelings - so good for them.

Unlike Greg, I find Kenilworth's posts interesting in a similar way, but boy, has he mis-read Fulk!

Offline Martin Laverty

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2019, 08:36:16 pm »
People seem to think that Kenilworth is some sort of transatlantic devil incarnate; I see him, rather, as occasionally playing devil's advocate...

I can see where Kenilworth is coming from when he criticises Fulk's bald statement of
Quote
‘Don’t think about it, don’t analyze it, just do what you do for its own sake; enjoy it while you can’
In context of talking amongst friends it is ok, but without context it would be better as
Quote
‘Don’t think too much about it, don’t overanalyze it, then do anything reasonable for its own sake; enjoy it while you can’
- which I'm sure is what Fulk meant and is not, I suspect, something to which Kenilworth would demur.

Offline David Rose

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2019, 11:38:25 am »
I think Martin has dealt with the Fulk/Kenilworth issue adroitly.

Coming back to the original post:

These are profound thoughts, and I totally agree with OR's  comments about the contributions from Simon Beck - both his writing, and his amazing campaign in Mossdale, where he has explored and dug a lead that may finally hold the key to the vast system which lies somewhere between the fell and Black Keld. I know he's been having a few problems just now but I do hope he goes back to it - maybe with some of his other supporters here helping out. In any event, few people write with the searing honesty and vivid reflection that Simon often displays.

I've only seen Frozen Deep once and I can only imagine how extraordinary and moving the moment of discovery must have been. It is indeed an amazing place, as so many of the places we explore are. Most of the population never gets this: the sense of wonder we experience in the underworld, where most people see only discomfort, squalor, danger and fear. Then, as I have long come to appreciate, so many cavers are fascinating people who have other remarkable talents. 

Offline ZombieCake

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2019, 11:27:30 pm »
I think it's great that we have different people from various groups and nations with different outlooks.  Let's face it we won't always agree on everything.  (I quite often don't agree with myself). Anyway the best anthropological quote I could find (each story has many facets), and each viewpoint could argue the same from their own perspective, irrespective of roots, is  "They're probably foreigners with ways different from our own. They may do some more... folk dancing."  Caver is a caver so who cares as long as the publican is happy?

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2019, 09:29:26 am »
A very profound thought Mr Z. Ultimately for all the physcobabble being happy is the best thing.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2019, 12:30:44 pm »
You should write music man.
That's as rock and roll as you can get 👏👏👏

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2019, 01:30:16 pm »
Sadly not mine. But you can listen here -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=PNq_DTmVCWs

Online mrodoc

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Re: Time To Think. Time To Act.
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2019, 06:33:16 pm »
It is interesting is it not how some things pull an emotional chord.  With me it is music particularly a good live performance. You would think as first man into the Frozen Deep I would have been similarly overwhelmed but all I can remember is being a bit frustrated that we didn't reach the underground river. I think that would have had a massive impact on me as the reason I started digging in RH 11 years ago was to find the river and I am still trying. Don't get me wrong the Frozen Deep is an extraordinary place and perhaps people don't realise how apt Nick's (OR) is for it. He named it from a play by Wilkie Collins that Dickens had worked on with him (it was Dickens bicentenary) because the team, when first looking down into it could see white stalagmite in the far distance. We know that it was once a frozen deep - an ice cave full of ice formations as is evidenced by the large deposits of cryogenic stal on the floors. Probably one of the best names around. If we ever reach the river - we will let you know!