Four skiiers die in avalanches. Is the issue freedom? Let’s talk about Hesus, protagonists in my first novel, The Age of Certainty.
Hesus believed each to his own, as long as you’re not hurting someone else, you should be able to do whatever you want. Sounds like classic Libertarianism. But, like all human beings and any good literary character, Hesus is complicated, even if he doesn’t always think in those terms.
Hesus attempts to maintain emotional distance, like a scientist, naively observing his subject(s). Naively, because he acts as if he’s never contemplated the phonomenological effect, most prominent in exactly the situation Hesus puts himself in, whereby the observer influences the behavior of his observed subjects. Hesus comes to understand this as the novel progresses, this lesson spurs him to open up, allowing his love for Emil to manifest itself, allowing, however tragically late, Hesus to become a real person, if you will.
Hesus freely places himself in the path of a possible avalanche, his technical confidence overriding his rational judgement- for a purpose, for meaning, in an attempt to transcend his status as an observer- and he pays the price. The price could have been his life, like the confident adventurers who lost their lives at Stevens Pass and Alpental Ski Resort in Washington state yesterday, but instead it was the price that the survivors of that tragic avalanche suffered: pushed to be human, given the opportunity to feel what makes us all human; empathy, loss, contemplation of one’s place in this vast, complicated world we find ourselves.
This price is a gift, hard one and tragic, and it may be that our bodies try to guard us against it, shock us into forgetting, forgetting being also a useful artifice. But a gift it is. How tragic again it would be if we didn’t use the gift, like a book of Nietzchean aphorisms forgotten in a drawer, some think them horrific ravings, others garnering such understanding.
We are always free, like adventuresome Hesus, like brave young athletes, to libertine choices. Sometimes the price of that freedom, human as it is, is high.
You can read the first chapter of The Age of Certainty in Uncategorized>Writings