Friday, 20 March 2009

Goethe and the experiment

It's been a while since I've posted as nothing of any relevance to climbing has occured of late. I've just 'finished' (they never are until final pinup) a scheme for a land yachting and windsurfing centre and I'm pretty happy with it. I made a decent model out of 3mm laminated hardboard and it ended up looking fairly fly for an architectural model. I managed to skip the review which was silly of me but I'm confident what I have is beyond satisfactory.

The last two weeks I have been making something of a return to frequent climbing activity. It's always nice in the early part of a project to have relatively little pressure upon oneself and to focus some much needed attention on training for a summer of project crushing. It turns out I hadn't lost too much and only really feel something of a power endurance drain present. It'll only take a few dedicated sessions of volume to correct this and I actually feel slightly lighter and stronger on crimps than I did when I was training 3 times a week. I have some psyche to get back to the cave and mop up some unfinished business as well as to forge connections with other classics in there.

The post title is dedicated to something from yesterday. Whilst strolling through the Sydney Jones library, I started to wonder what cluster of knowledge I might gain if I was to indulge in a chance experiment. What might be the learning outcome of walking down a random isle of old books, picking a book at random, a page at random and a paragraph at random? I started to walk along a level (at random) and made a sudden left turn after some 30 paces. I continued forward for about 10 paces, picked a shelf, picked a book and picked a page. The book was published in 1849 and was an account of Goethe's travels in Italy and his letters written in Switzerland. Upon turning to a page at random and glancing at the first paragraph in the middle of the page, what I read had a particular poinancy; it was an account by Goethe of the condition of the 'youth' at age 25. This is of course my age and I read with great interest what the polymath had to say. He spoke of every last attribute of two young men he was to draw in great emotive detail concerning their physical attributes and their spirit. I felt an eery sense of self conveyed through his description and after the extended paragraph spanning a page and a half had finished, I walked away completely stunned by the outcome of the aleatoric process. I'd like to return to the library today to take out the book and transcribe it here.

Lastly, I'd like to pay formal homage to Lorenzo Frusteri's ascent of the pure direct roof line at Amiata. This is a very impressive feat of climbing, especially considering the man's occupation and time allowances to frequent the crag. Rich and I witnessed it the summer past and acknowledge the dedication Lore has given to the line. His unwavering commitment to such an aesthetic and perfect line is inspiring and I hope to emulate this performance in time on projects of my own. Congratulations Lore, I know but just the surface of the attention this problem commanded.