May 29, 2016
Something was seriously wrong.
book was surely written by a beautiful person. At the time of the
second Scott expedition to Antarctica, this person was young, loyal,
hard working, sensitive to beauty, attentive to the best in every
person, courageous, and very near-sighted..
The loveliness of
this man makes me angry at Scott and his right-hand men (like the
scientist Wilson). I can't help but feel that there was something
seriously wrong about the Scott expedition. The author at maybse 25 -
27 years accompanied Wilson and Bowers, another right-hand man, on
the "worst journey" of the book's title. This was a six week trek
over ice in the middle of winter in the total darkness with
temperatures that descended to -73 degrees F. in order to --- collect
the eggs of Emperor Penguin's. During the journey, the author could
not wear his eyeglasses. He starved. With the two others, he had
to despair. The nerves of his teeth were killed by the frost. At
one point, Wilson told him, "You simply must learn to use an ice ax".
Plainly our author may not have been trained or able to see. Yet,
throughout the author looks up to Wilson, whereas it seems to me
that Wilson was a somewhat crazed and obssessed man without a true
regard for his fellows.
An expedition that would have sent
three men into the unknown in the most frightful season in the most
frightful unknown place was stupid and cruel. No concepts of duty
or advancement of science can excuse the entire incompetence and
carelessness. I suppose the expedition was systematized only by a sense
of honor and manliness.
There was something wrong about the
Scott expedition. From this book, it struck me as old-fashioned or
rigid in values, too loose in organization, too diffuse in its
goals, too classist. As to the latter two, the author tells us
that the expedition was primarily scientific. If so, the journey to
the Pole was not necessary as science could have been satisfied by a
concentration of resources that the Polar journey diluted.
Additionally, the author here would perhaps not have had to take the
worst journey and another group of researchers would not have been
stranded for a whole winter (!) on their own while Scott went to
the Pole. As to may remark about classism, I am struck with the
disregard, almost contempt, in which the ordinary seaman Edgar Evans
is discussed or ignored, and the honor heaped on Oates of the
cavalry or dragoons ---- as if both men as they died had not given
their total "vitality", as the author might say, to the Polar journey.
will read more about the author. I understand that a biography of
him has recently been published (?). I would like to know what
happened to him as I sense that he essentially knew that he was in
the hands of the unorganized, to say the least, and the obssessive, to
say the most.