“Sailing is not an escape but a return to and a confrontation of a reality from which modern civilization is itself an escape. For centuries, man suffered from the reality of an earth that was too dark or too hot or too cold for his comfort, and to escape this he invented complex systems of lighting, heating and air conditioning. Sailing rejects these and returns to the old realities of dark and heat and cold. Modern civilization has found radio, TV, movies, nightclubs and a huge variety of mechanized entertainment to titillate our senses and help us escape from the apparent boredom of the earth and the sun and wind and stars. Sailing returns to these ancient realities. … the real underlying source of cruising depression is that they have thought of sailing as one more civilized form of stimulation, just like movies or spectator sports…” From Cruising Blues, Robert M. Pirsig.
Pirsig’s article is splendid – I hope I feel the same after cruising for a bit, but I am still just the vacation sailor. But what he describes is certainly the rock bottom reason for cruising. The raw reality of the thing. No hiding behind the various demands and stimulations that make up modern life. Is this worth losing our financial place in the world? Will we regret the exchange? Maybe, but I want the chance to explicitly reject reality if that’s what I’m going to do, not just forget that the exchange exists and has been made implicitly every moment of my life up until now.
There’s a quietude in getting away from our culturally mandated “norms”. We’ll explore that world for awhile.