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#144 Ernest Shackleton: Endurance
September 13th, 2020 | E144

Show Notes

[00:00:58] - All the men were struck, almost to the point of horror, by the way the ship behaved like a giant beast in its death agonies. 

[00:01:27] - His name was Sir Ernest Shackleton, and the twenty-seven men he had watched so ingloriously leaving the stricken ship were the members of his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. 

[00:02:02] - Few men have borne the responsibility Shackleton did at that moment. Though he certainly was aware that their situation was desperate, he could not possibly have imagined then the physical and emotional demands that ultimately would be placed upon them, the rigors they would have to endure, the sufferings to which they would be subjected

[00:02:52] - Their plight was naked and terrifying in its simplicity: If they were to get out—they had to get themselves out

[00:09:21] - Shackleton returned to England a hero of the Empire. He was lionized wherever he went, knighted by the king, and decorated by every major country in the world. 

[00:10:24] - Making his primary argument for such an expedition, he wrote: It is the last great Polar journey that can be made. I feel it is up to the British nation to accomplish this, for we have been beaten at the conquest of the North Pole and beaten at the first conquest of the South Pole. There now remains the largest and most striking of all journeys—the crossing of the Continent. 

[00:12:16] - He was an explorer in the classic mold—utterly self-reliant, romantic, and swashbuckling

[00:15:20] - But the great leaders of historical record—the Napoleons, the Alexanders—have rarely fitted any conventional mold. Perhaps it’s an injustice to evaluate them in ordinary terms. 

[00:17:00] - When you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems no way out, get down on your knees, and pray for Shackleton. 

[00:17:15] - The motto of his family: BY ENDURANCE WE CONQUER

[00:23:10] - Shackleton said there once was a mouse who lived in a tavern. One night the mouse found a leaky barrel of beer, and he drank all he could hold. When the mouse had finished, he looked around arrogantly. “Now then,”  he said, “where’s that damn cat.”

[00:25:15] - From studying the outcome of past expeditions, he believed that those that burdened themselves with equipment to meet every contingency had fared much worse than those that had sacrificed total preparedness for speed

[00:30:19] - Of all their enemies—the cold, the ice, the sea—he feared none more than demoralization

[00:32:00] - Shackleton was not an ordinary individual. He was a man who believed completely in his own invincibility, and to whom defeat was a reflection of personal inadequacy

[00:43:15] - It was pull or perish, and ignoring their sickening thirst, they leaned on their oars with what seemed the last of their strength. 

[00:47:05] - No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail

[00:48:34] - The only thing to do was to hang on and endure

[00:49:39] - They were possessed by an angry determination to see the journey through—no matter what. 

[00:54:33] - I do not know how they did it, except they had to

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