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Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

mount rainier won't rate "hors categorie", it may be a Kobayashi Maru, certainly a Raison d'etre

December9

I begin training, and this very week, for our planned, certainly hoped for, summit of Mount Rainier in June.

As consistent readers of this Blog are fully aware, I like to use three distinct phrases to describe dramatic events in my life…

And, they include:

Hors Catégorie

Hors Catégorie is a French term used in cycle races (most notably, the Tour de France) to designate a climb that is “beyond categorization”, an incredibly tough climb. Most climbs in cycling are designated from Category 1 (hardest) to Category 4 (easiest), based on both steepness and length. A climb that is harder than Category 1 is designated as hors catégorie. The term was originally used for those mountain roads where cars were not expected to be able to pass.

As an extreme athlete, I specialize in attacking (running and riding) these types of grades.

Mount Rainier does not rate Hors Catégorie. But, we know this is going to be tough. And, an enormous milestone in our lives. I’ll admit apprehension. I don’t know if it might be fear. With transparency I submit this is a dimension of the effort that is new to me and warrants exploration. Could that be the truest test through this adventure?

Is this why Kobayashi Maru keeps creeping into my thoughts?

Kobayashi Maru

The Kobayashi Maru is a test in the fictional Star Trek universe. It is a Starfleet training exercise designed to test the character of cadets in the command track at Starfleet Academy. The Kobayashi Maru test was first depicted in the opening scene of the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and also appears in the 2009 film Star Trek. Depictions of the Kobayashi Maru test are a fairly popular subject in Star Trek literature. Non-canonical examples of Kobayashi Maru tests have been described in many Star Trek novels. The test’s name is occasionally used among Star Trek fans or those familiar with the series to describe a no-win scenario. As a cadet, Kirk beat the test by, essentially, cheating (he reprogrammed the game to fear him). However, he was awarded a citation for “original thinking”. Much like how Kirk cheated to win, characters are frequently depicted as coming up with very innovative or surprising ways of handling the situation.

Although I don’t consider myself a cheater. And, certainly the men around me must agree. I strive daily to be innovative, a thought leader, and tend to come up with solutions for problems that consistently stump others. I’ll attribute this to my career-path as an entrepreneur in naught but the truest sense.

Is my mind reeling with these thoughts because my subconscious is preparing me, some how, and in doing so, forcing my body to training limits I’ve not recently attempted? I know that I must be ready. There is danger, certainly. Yes, I must be prepared for many eventualities, including, as my family attorney advises me – demise.

This must needs lead me, and you’re coming with me, to…

Raison d’etre

Raison d’être is a phrase borrowed from French where it means “reason for being”; in English use, it also comes to suggest a degree of rationalization, as “The claimed reason for the existence of something or someone”.

The French concept is more elaborate than a simple statement. Once the reason an object exists is defined, criteria to measure the object’s degree of success can be enumerated. For example, a phone has the purpose of enabling communication between two people. Some phones meet that goal better than others. When measurable criteria are known, gaps can be identified that show where the particular object fails to meet the prototypical object’s reason for being. When gaps have been fully identified, strategies can be implemented to close the gaps and bring the object closer to the true fulfillment of its raison d’être.

In the truest sense of raison d’être, French philosophers lay an elaborate road map of descriptive text that contrasts the current status of an implementation of a prototypical object with the purist view of perfection that the object should achieve without the hindrance of imperfections. The philosophical road map brings to a crescendo the imperative urgency that motivates participants to immediately take the steps necessary to achieve all the intended qualities that an object was designed to exemplify.

There is no point to this post. It’s just me telling you like it is.

…well… That is unless you’re interested in knowing more about me. And, now you just might.

Perhaps this is another opportunity to kill the bear.

My Grandad said many things. All of them were terrific. One of them was: “Face your fears, lad, and do it anyway”.

Is fear, and the attempt to defeat it, representative of Hors Catégori?

Is simply facing it that Kobayashi Maru?

Is ever seeking ways to remember the face of my father that Raison d’etre, for me (we dare not blow it).

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork


2 Comments to

“mount rainier won't rate "hors categorie", it may be a Kobayashi Maru, certainly a Raison d'etre”

  1. Avatar December 9th, 2009 at 1:21 pm Rusty Lindquist Says:

    How exciting. Risk is exciting (if you’re a risk taker), but embarking on achievements like this are so fantastically valuable and beneficial. I wish more would do it. You really get to test your mettle. You force yourself to overcome obstacles (one at a time) that you otherwise may have thought impossible (or at least improbable). In so doing, you build not only character, but confidence, and a true sense of who you are and what you’re capable of.

    I like to run marathons, and training for a marathon is one of those “dig deep and discover who you are” type of endeavors. Nothing like climbing Mt. Rainier, but awesome nonetheless.

    Just remember, demise is NOT an option.

    Also, thanks for elaborating on Raison d’etre. I’m doing a post right now on the principle of scale (things tend to want to become larger than they ought), and this description helps shed light on that topic. I’ll reference and link back here if you don’t mind.


  2. Avatar December 9th, 2009 at 2:30 pm Brian Patrick Cork Says:

    I’ll ponder if the greater risk comes in not taking the action to prepare for the summit, overcome my fear, and achieve a milestone shared with few others that breathe all manner of “rare air”.

    The demise element takes it’s pivotal form in whether it happens as a surprise, and less so an eventuality. So, I must train my body and prepare my mind to blend courage, furious resolve, and planning into a best option – survival.

    I love the development behind the potential that Raison d’etre represents. So, much promise reflected in an ever broadening sea of opportunity. It’s like the subjective meaning(s) attributed to Gare du Nord – another French play on words. It’s both a place (that takes people to other destinations) while also serving as a kind of battle cry for a warrior code that may longer exist in that evolving culture (the French Foreign Legion in Africa facing Muslim hordes). God… the irony. And, the lessons to be learned over what might define heroism and a reconciliation with my own soul.

    Thanks for chipping in Rusty.

    Cork


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