Monday, 10 June 2013

The Crystal Horizon

As far as anyone knows Rheinhold Messner was the first man to climb Mount Everest solo and without an artificial supply of oxygen. I say as far as anyone knows because it is not inconceivable that a Tibetan monk or some other person may have ascended the great white mountain in the dim and distant past in search of the wisdom of the gods. It is unlikely but it cannot be ruled out.

In one anecdote in his book The Crystal Horizon (The Crowood Press ISBN 978 1 86126 176 2) ) the Italian mountaineer describes for the reader the Tibetan story of how the world was created. I paraphrase some of it here:

In the beginning there was a void, a dark emptiness. Then a soft wind arose. It grew stronger and stronger. Then came lightning. And clouds. And then rain. And after the rain there were oceans.

And then there was land and a great mountain.

The gods who lived on the earth needed no light for each carried his own light within him. But after some time the gods became like people, and dependent upon the sun, moon and stars.

The earth was full of riches. And for each person there grew one fruit each day.

One day someone found two fruits on his tree and ate them both. The next day he had no fruit. And because he had no fruit he stole the fruit from his neighbour's tree.

The neighbour, seeing this and now having no nourishment, stole the fruit from another neighbour's tree.

And so it went on.

Before long each person was stealing the fruit of another.

And so work was created. Everyone planting and growing extra fruit in case some of his fruit was stolen.

Through their squabbling over the fruit the people, who had once been like gods, had changed their way of thinking.

One day a man tore his genitalia from his body.

He became like a woman.

And before long the earth was full of men and women  . . .  squabbling and stealing from each other.

Most of us do not have the ability, the fitness or even the inclination to attempt to climb Chomolungma (Mount Everest). Nevertheless with a book like The Crystal Horizon we can allow the author to open windows in our minds; windows to new horizons.


  1. Wonderful book review Gwilym - makes me want to read the book. Interesting take on how the world began - not so very different from our version is it?

  2. Thanks Pat. I find it especially intriguing that myths and legends from various widespread parts of the world often have common themes running through them. As you say, It's very like our own biblical version, although the sin here was greed and theft, and not disobedience and shame.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.