THINK OR DIE: AMUNDSEN BASE, SOUTH POLE, AT THE ONSET OF ANTARCTIC WINTER
Here stands a besieged fortress of pure reason in a world gone mad. Here, a community of fifty brave scientists defies the very worst that Nature can do in order to seek knowledge and truth. Here is the most extreme and dangerous place in the entire world where intelligence is essential for survival. Here is the greatest desert of all where crystalline water burns with reflected starlight. And here is the very last true Empire of untamed Nature left on Earth.
It is here, more than anyplace else, where the margin of error is zero. And it is here that Nature is utterly ruthless and refuses to forgive the slightest mistake. Only truth can survive in these harsh conditions. Nature shows no mercy whatsoever to lies, error, fiction, hype or wishful thinking. This place is the greatest university in the entire world, and Nature is the toughest teacher. Elite special-forces military schools routinely use Nature to teach and train the best soldiers.
The sun has set forever. It feels that way during the six long months of winter darkness. Temperatures will drop to minus 145 degrees Fahrenheit while 50 mph winds (and 100 mph gusts) blast across the south polar plain. Blood, sweat and tears freeze instantly. Only courage and truth can resist such overwhelming forces. Every movement must be planned, every action requires persistent effort, every instant of mere existence is the most invisible and silent form of heroism.
In the winter season of continuous darkness the only light left comes from the stars above, and from whatever illumination people can achieve on their own. In the cold, persistent darkness of the most savage winter on Earth the best light of all is what people find within themselves. All other forms of light are redundant as the blind will attest. No other light can ever replace insight.
Nature provides one further faint illumination which banishes all shadows while crowning darkness supreme. Night has its own rainbow and in Antarctica the nether twilight of the Aurora Australis is a pure celestial radiance that is diffuse, discreet, and diaphanous: In the season of darkness there are no shadows as there must be no fear and no doubt.
The logic which rules Antarctica is brutally simple: Think or die. Ironically, this very same logic applies to every business in the world. Here, of course, there is only one business: survival.
I have brought George’s Store down to Earth in the one place which best symbolizes the ideals of my website. In my opinion, Antarctica is the place which best illustrates and dramatizes the crucial importance of good thinking, and the severe consequences of its absence. My choice of location radically simplifies the problem of survival in order to achieve the lucid clarity of absolute truth. After 20 years of business experience I am certain that understanding the truth is the only way to help people with their problems.
If you commit to working very, very hard, if you embark on a long and dangerous journey the conclusion of which is unknown, if you believe in freedom and apply tyranny only to yourself, if you freely choose to accept the risk of total personal failure, if you agree that all bets are off and that you yourself are open to change and complete transformation, if you disdain comfort and ease, then, maybe, you will find the truth, whatever form it may take for you. You will have something valuable to sell. You will be able to open a store.
For every question there is an answer, and another question, for those few who insist on true understanding. The level of intelligence which can properly be called good learns the hard way from its own mistakes. Error, with all its bitter consequences, is the true cost of tuition. This is how the real world works for those of us who sincerely try hard to do our very best and learn from our own failures.
Only the wisdom of Solomon can do better. I don’t have the wisdom of Solomon, though I seek it always.
Imagine you have never gone fishing even once in your entire life. Imagine you have never held a fishing pole, never eaten a fish, and don’t know anything about bait, rod or reel. A team of the world’s best neuroscientists studies you, your brain and how you learn. They systematically gather together all the best knowledge available on fishing, bait, poles, and the optimum strategies of how to catch fish.
Over many years of effort, training, and simulation you are given a vast knowledge of fishing in precisely the one way that works best for you. You, your muscles, your hands, your eyes and your mind are trained over 10,000 hours of education and work. Then, you, who have never gone fishing even once in your life, are sent to the nearest lake. You are told to catch the biggest fish you can. You have no prior real-world experience of any kind.
Because of the extraordinary training and instruction you have received you don’t just perform well your first time fishing, you perform perfectly. You catch a 30 pound bass. This is learning from the mistakes made by others. The hard-earned knowledge of other people guides you and protects you from making your own real-world mistakes. The only mistakes you ever make are on tests. Your mistakes are studied systematically and corrected comprehensively. You are purged of all error before you ever touch a real fishing pole. This is the wisdom of Solomon applied to fishing.
The great philosopher Immanual Kant, in his Critique of Pure Reason, called such exquisite understanding synthetic a priori knowledge. If you ever perceive such incredible knowledge and expertise in any field of human activity, stand and show respect, for you are in the presence of true greatness. This is the very best that any human being can achieve in any subject. This is better than gold; this is the platinum standard of human excellence.
The elite special-forces unit of Navy Seal Team Six was able to take out the worst terrorist in the world, Osama Bin Laden, because of vast training and simulation. On May 1, 2011 this highly trained team flew into Abbottabad Pakistan, a hostile environment, and killed Bin Laden.
These soldiers had never been to Abbottabad before. But they knew exact details of the compound where Bin Laden was hiding out. Media reports indicate that two copies of the Abbottabad compound were built in the US for training purposes. The training regimen for Navy Seals is brutal and legendary. Fewer than one third of the volunteers for this elite group ultimately receive the gold Trident badge, which they wear with pride for the rest of their lives.
The minds of these elite troops had trained repeatedly in Abbottabad simulations long before their bodies flew there to conduct the highly successful operation which killed the worst terrorist in modern history.
Navy Seal Team Six personnel had never been to Abbottabad, but they knew which way the doors of the facility opened. They knew where the windows were. They knew the layout, the lighting conditions, and the ‘feel’ of the place before they flew in on May 1, 2011 in two stealth helicopter gunships.
Supreme knowledge is supreme power.
Here is a great account of the true story:
When you finish reading this story salute our flag and the brave and brilliant people who defend it and our freedoms.
One of the greatest privileges of my life was to spend two and a half years as the protégé of a rare and exceptional individual with an extraordinary level of skill and knowledge. Joe was a CPA, lawyer, math prodigy and amateur astronomer. He was my greatest teacher because he pushed me harder and demanded more from me than I thought I could give.
He has gone to a place I cannot visit. Whenever I deal with complex, challenging and overwhelming problems I feel he is still with me at my side and I ask myself what he would do if he were in my shoes. But if I search my memory keenly I find that I stand amidst a multitude of family and teachers who are always at my side. I am never really alone.
Joe was the only individual I have personally known who achieved the platinum standard of human excellence. He is the one person I never want to disappoint with my work. He is the one person I will always seek to please and whose very highest standards motivate me to be the best I can be.
Nature herself makes the wise man rich.
I would like to express my personal appreciation for the extraordinary photography of Anthony Powell and his website AntarcticImages.com, which inspired me in the design of portions of my online store. Here at last I have found the one place in all the world that inspires and challenges me the most. Antarctica is the very last place in all the world where purity and truth are not contradictions. If epiphany has a place, it is here.
George Adams CPA MBA