I would never chart a river or scale a peak to take its measure or plant a flag. There is no point. Its’ solipsistic self-aggrandizement, so too are those scientists who study the planet seeking astronomical enlightenment for its own sake. The botanists, studying the variegation of an Amazonian fern. The zoologist caught up in the endless fascination of an adder’s coils. And for what?
Knowledge for its sake alone, the elation of discovery, the ecstasy of planting your flag on the truth. There is only one worthy goal for scientific exploration, piercing the tissue that separates life from death .Everything else from the deep bottom of the sea to the top of the highest mountain is insignificant. Life and death, Sir Malcolm, The flicker that separates one from the other, fast as a bat’s wing, more beautiful than any sonnet. That is my river, that is my mountain. There is where I shall plant my flag.