A story came to my attention about a man who went on a survival expedition and died for lack of water. There’s now an intense debate about how much liability one can actually waive. Does a non-expert have the ability to consent to danger they do not fully understand, and only know about through the expertise of the one being remitted from liability?

Interesting stuff. But what bugs me is that he was on a paid expedition to be taught survival skills, a course owned by some self-made guru. “Pushing past the artificial limits our minds impose on us” is not a pretty process, and it is not one that can be sold. I know many backpackers who go in to the wild with what would be for me a potentially lethal lack of equipment. Their skill, built up over many trips, allows them to extend their reach in to nature, with a full respect for the danger that comes along with that. But the cardinal rule is that one never, ever, under any circumstance, is to “try” their luck.

Thou Shalt Not Put Mother Nature to the Test.

You may get popped the first time you dare her to take you, you may get lucky. You may have to survive with a pen knife and a string. You may get completely lost and rely on only your wits to get yourself back to safety. You practice these skills, you build up your knowledge. But you don’t dare nature. She does not exist for you to prove yourself against, or to harden your image. She exists. You travel with her at your own peril, always respecting her unbridled power.

You do not merchandise a survival situation.

-sly

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