22nd February 2020

I awoke this morning staring skywards, worried about the coefficients of slipperiness, not something particularly relevant to anyone beyond the instructor employed in the teaching of skiing and snowboarding at European dry ski slopes. This somnambulant journey into my past is not unusual, my escapades upon the ever taxing and intrinsically dangerous surfaces of such mind-bending arenas are oft destinations in my napping travelogues. No doubt this particular adventure was the result of a news article I had viewed the previous day about the opening of a covered and weather-controlled snow slope on the East Coast. My nighttime flights of fancy never seem to venture to those naturally weather dependent locales, the Alps, the Cairngorms, the Carpathians and Urals, the sites of my less troublesome mountain guiding sojourns. Perhaps the differential between natural and artificial represents the very reason for the dichotomy.

In nature my days were beyond mere mortal hands, the slipperiness being in the control of someone far beyond my circle of influence. On the artificial slope piped water mist was the great deity, whilst liquid tungsten spray the miracle to transform staccato ugliness into arcs of gliding serenity.

The relationship betwixt nature and nurture, between genetically implanted traits, skills, concepts or even prejudices, opposed to a rag tag accumulation dependent on example, influence, inference and education is a matter of endless and seemingly unresolvable fascination to me.

We all are on occasion presented with urges and propositions totally out of line with our considered opinions, contrary as it were to the laws of man and deity alike. Only common sense and good conscience refuse to allow resultant inappropriate words and actions to spill from our mouths or manifest.  Here we might surmise nurture has modified nature to promulgate consensus and avoid strife. Yet by definition this example equally promotes nature as the originator of behavior. Nurture but corrals and amends, corrects and edits, makes societally acceptable.

I quite clearly recall feeling both horror and disgust when morally unfortunate lessons were presented to me verbally, either by instruction or through witnessing or overhearing conversations. Casual interactions have a far more profound effect than those more pointed, slipping imperceptibly into memory, deleting or rewriting codes of conduct wholly surreptitiously. Repetitive propaganda however untenable will infect, fester and exude.

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