Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Rock: if you haven't climbed it you haven't visited

Recent dead letter at the SMH:

Dear Editor,

The climb to the top of Uluru affords one a chance to soak in the geology, geomorphology and environment of this remarkable area. Unfortunately pandering to stone age beliefs has threatened the climb for some time and sadly continues to do so, replete with specious comparisons with climbing man made religious structures (Uluru: to climb or not to climb? 7/8/2017). It may surprise many but climbing the bell towers of many christian churches is a very common tourist practise in Europe that usually comes with a small fee. I understand that you can even climb the Bell Tower at St Mary's if you know the right person.

Climbing the rock is an act that commemorates our collective defeat over primitive mysticism and is a tribute to science and modernity. Not climbing on the grounds that the rock is sacred in some way is an act of wilful ignorance, tantamount to turning your back on the age of enlightenment. Dream time tales, along with other religious fantasies, may make for fine bedtime morality lessons, but they have no role in restricting access to our shared natural heritage. If you haven't climbed it, you haven't really visited it.