Monday, April 21, 2014
The account of Endurance that we have read seems to contain a theme of understated and unspoken altruism contrasted with instances of individuals resigning to abounding, seemingly insurmountable obstacles. An example of each would be the men rowing for hours on end and developing grotesque injuries from their toils while Orde-Lees selfishly refused to contribute. The contribution of each individual to the survival of the group is pivotal. These men have a strong, unspoken commitment to altruism that reflects the nature of life on ships. My captain on SEA Semester referred often to the fundamental concept of sailing philosophy, "ship, shipmate, self." It took my quite a while to objectively wrap my head around this paradigm and even longer to respect or accept it. These men have existed in an alternate world of the high seas, which is a very rigidly structured and carefully crafted society without room for individual desires, fears or opinions. After five weeks at sea I can't pretend to understand the entirety of the seafaring world's ideology, but I would assert that altruism sits among its highest values. Perhaps it has to do with the tortuous watch schedule and often brutal physical conditions of the high seas necessitating a steadfast bode of confidence in your shipmate's mutual willingness to endlessly endure.