In the West we live in a safe society, a world of vaccines and high tech medicine offering longevity for its own sake. We are encouraged to be careful, to avoid risk, to build secure safe lives, comfortingly backed up by pensions and life assurance and anything that would shield us from the reality. We are taught to look ahead to the future and work towards a perceived idea of what we want from life. We are rarely told to live for the present, to take what we want and give nothing back. Societies cannot operate on such selfish principles. Occasionally illness, bereavement, redundancy and accidents impose on people and bring them up short with a shock of recognition that, however hard they try, nothing can be permanently safe.

Joe Simpson, ‘This Game Of Ghosts’, (The Mountaineers, 1995, P.119)

Fear seems to exist only in our imagination. Without imagination, without the ability to see our place in the future, to work out the consequence of a particular event in all its gruesome detail, we would be quite fearless.

Joe Simpson, ‘This Game Of Ghosts’, (The Mountaineers, 1995, P.264)

Living for the moment, for nothing but the present, brings with it an unexpected bonus. It seems to me that if you can escape from the need to know the future and free yourself from the constraints of the past, and in so doing act in and only for the present, then you achieve absolute freedom. If you manage simply to exist you are more free than you could possibly have imagined.

Joe Simpson, ‘This Game Of Ghosts’, (The Mountaineers, 1995, P.276)


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