The Path to Freedom

This past weekend I went on a backpacking trip in Kings Canyon. Beyond money, the price for such a trip was severely blistered feet, a swollen middle toe, some wicked knots in my shoulders, and sore calf muscles. In final summation, however, the beauty of this place, the chance to live in it through all hours of the day, was well worth the cost.

When night approached, with bellies full and muscles recovering, we gathered around the campfire and engaged in the kind of meandering conversation that such circumstances seem to encourage. During this time, one of the subjects we talked about was rock climbing, and how the sport has developed over the past few decades. Currently, devoted rock climbers, at the top of the totem pole, are able to accomplish climbs that a generation ago would have appeared superhuman. One gentleman, Chris Sharma, in a demonstration of incredible strength, agility, and acumen, made an upside-down, horizontal, back to the ground, climb along the ceiling of a cave.

In the course of this conversation I was struck by a mild epiphany concerning the paradoxical relationship between discipline and freedom. What I saw was that the intense discipline that extreme rock climbers submit to is the pathway that allows them to move with greater freedom than most of us will ever know. Stated in more general terms, the yolk of discipline is the instrument of freedom. In thinking upon this further, I wondered where else in our lives is this principle true.

3 Responses to “The Path to Freedom”

  1. Simon Jones  

    It sounds like it would have been a lot of fun. Not least of all to have the opportunity to talk with you again Anthony. Without wishing to sound like a fan or someone out to simply flatter, one of the highlights of any trip I make to California, is always the opportunity to enjoy conversation with you.

    I don’t know anyone who talks like you do. You’re always so energetic, flailing your arms around and getting all wound in like a conversational tornado that on occasion is reminded that children are sleeping not too far away.

    You use words I never do, like paradoxical. Words that make me want to understand them so I can use them myself, and that leave me thinking how the hell is it that I don’t understand what a certain word might actually mean. You say sentences that I have to play back in my head slowly in order to fathom. Sometimes you say who paragraphs that make me feel like the foreigner I am as I listen hard for words that can give me contextual landmarks and allow me to follow you even though I might feel like I’m reading a menu in some European town with a name that I can neither pronounce nor would I insult them by trying.

    I always look forward to our conversations Anthony. I’m so glad you married Paula Pennington 🙂

  2. Administrator  

    Wow! I am turning red.

    Thanks for the praise and…

    oh – uh

    Thanks for the kudos and approbation of my rhetorical abilities.

  3. Simon Jones  

    “the kudos and approbation of my rhetorical abilitie”

    Your honor. I rest my case. 🙂