Conquering Mnt. Fear
Researchers have not yet managed to locate the peak of the treacherous mountain range known as Mnt. Fear.
And yet, every day, a few climbers can be seen taking their first tentative steps up the mountain, which is seen as one of the greatest obstacles known to man.
But why? If there is no end in sight, no peak to strive for and poke your flag in the ground to announce, "I did it!" then why do people from all walks of life still attempt to conquer this seemingly endless mountain?
We went to Base Camp, at the foot of the mountain, to find some firsthand explanations.
First, we found Mary Kay Ash, an intrepid mountaineer who is obviously not cowed by the sheer size of Mnt. Fear. She explained it simply.
"Most people live and die with their music still inside. They never dare to try."
We also managed to catch up with Mr. John Bingham, who shared these rather dramatic yet wise words with us while putting on his climbing gear.
"Do not be afraid to fail. Be afraid to accept that who you are right now is all you're ever going to be."
Such wisdom! No wonder these brave adventurers continue to traverse Mnt. Fear even when there is no summit in sight.
Pitfalls encountered on Mnt. Fear
Anecdotal evidence suggests that some climbers have managed to scale so high up Mnt. Fear that we simply don't have the technology to track them and analyse their strategies for conquering each new phase that they encounter along the path to the summit - if there even is one.
There are, after all, numerous pitfalls along the way, as some unlucky adventurers who attempted to conquer Mnt. Fear, but failed, have come back to warn us about.
These dangers, they report, include a treacherous Fear of Failure, somewhere near Base Camp 1. This obstacle alone has sent many hikers home already. In fact, statistics show that most climbers who attempt to conquer Mnt. Fear drop out after encountering this specific hurdle.
Those who continue the climb after overcoming the Fear of Failure found a sheer cliff face, almost impossible to scale, in the vicinity of Base Camp 2. They've labelled it Fear of Ridicule, after the number of adventurers who saw this obstacle simply laughed at the impossibility of overcoming it, turned around and headed back down the mountain to safety.
There have also been numerous reports of Criticism unexpectedly taking out even the strongest climbers all along the path. The incidence of Criticism seemed to be well camouflaged and are dotted all along the climb toward the elusive summit, making this a continuous threat that every climber faces regardless of how high up the mountain they managed to scale.
As with all popular mountain passes, horror stories depicting inexplicable events and "monsters" abound, no doubt started by those who found Mnt. Fear simply too challenging to conquer and, not wanting to be the only ones left behind, they try to discourage newcomers from attempting the climb as well.
One such story is the as yet unconfirmed report of a certain Fear of Success, apparently lurking in the densely packed trees between Base Camp 2 and 3. It's believed to be almost completely see-through, making it difficult to spot until the unsuspecting climber is overcome by the monster.
What is certain, however, is that rumours of this type are affecting the popularity of Mnt. Fear. Most people won't even attempt to conquer it, and of those who do, many return with stories about the sheer difficulty that it poses. It would seem almost impossible.
Advice from seasoned climbers
Our reporters caught up with a few more veteran climbers and asked them if they had any advice for novices attempting to conquer Mount Fear.
Mr. Joseph Campbell advised that,
"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek."
A certain Sequichie Comingdeer has a similar suggestion.
"The death of fear is doing what you fear to do."
But it is Mr. T.S. Eliot's input that should alert us that all is not what it seems on this mountain range.
"I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
It sounds like seasoned climbers of Mnt. Fear are all giving similar advice, and if we read closely, they almost seem to be implying that there is really nothing to it - almost as if the mountain didn't even exist.
Take, for instance, the famous Mr Napoleon Hill, who says, quite simply,
"Fear is nothing more than a state of mind."
Could it be that the summit of Mnt. Fear has never been found because the entire mountain range is a figment of each climber's imagination?
I certainly hope so. After all, Andre Gide informs us that,
"There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them."
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