Weary, climber-infested, rubbish-strewn, poo-polluted Mount Everest, is much in the news at the moment because of tragedies and emergencies among those madly queuing to climb it.
How surreal it has been to see news footage of hosts of brightly-clad bourgeois thrill-seeking foreigners and their hired local sherpas forming great queues in a place that should be the last place on Earth for queues.
I have been wondering why it is (for the unexamined life is not worth living) that what has befallen the dear mountain seems so obscene.
Last week The New York Timesreported that "Ed Dohring, a doctor from Arizona, had dreamed his whole life of reaching the top of Mount Everest. But when he summited a few days ago, he was shocked by what he saw."
"Climbers were pushing and shoving to take selfies. The flat part of the summit, which he estimated at about the size of two Ping-Pong tables, was packed with 15 or 20 people. To get up there, he had to wait hours in a line, chest to chest ..."
"He even had to step around the body of a woman who had just died.
"'It was scary,' he said by telephone from Kathmandu, Nepal, where he was resting in a hotel room. 'It was like a zoo.'"
One would have liked The New York Times to have been probing enough to ask him what on earth he was doing on Everest, contributing, with his own rich foreign idiocy, to the obscene chaos there.
"Dr Dohring," the paper might have probed, "WHY had you dreamed your whole life of something so mindless, so dumbly male and testosterone-driven, as getting to the top of Mount Everest?"
"Why hadn't you dreamed, instead, of doing something worthwhile and grown-up? Of appearing in a Shakespeare play, perhaps? Of learning Finnish? Of righting one of your society's most unchristian wrongs? Of learning to play the theorbo?
"And, Ed, while we can understand, just, why someone might have wanted to be the first to climb the mountain or among the elite few to do it, where is the personal fulfilment now, in doing something, reaching Everest's summit, that has been done by every Tom, Dick and Harry (including teams of hairdressers, florists, ethnomusicologists, dog groomers, ACT Young Liberals) even by the occasional Tina, Denise and Harriet?"
Everest is the perfect metaphor for life itself.Gabriel Iosa
Back to the actual Everest in a moment but first a gander at how the virtual Everest gets used a lot as a metaphor for every conceivable human challenge.
Just in recent days I've heard the challenge posed by the antibiotics resistance crisis described as an "Everest" medical science must try climb. Then as well the "Everest" metaphor is a famous resort of dreamy alternative thinkers and of motivational, self-help guru-charlatans.
"Everyone Has an Everest. Achieve the summit of your life," online life-enhancement counsellor Peggy Wagner croons.
"Everest is the perfect metaphor for life itself," online dreamer Gabriel Iosa gushes.
"Nothing is harder than reaching your goals in life ... But when you reach the summit, standing there and actually having the whole world at your feet, that's when you realise all of the hard times were well worth it."
Yes, perhaps it is a personal Everest millions of us are faced with now if we are to bounce back and find life worthwhile under an abominable Morrison government.
Rise up, crestfallen Australians, and put on your metaphorical crampons to tackle the climb ahead!
In this metaphor I see, too, Scott Morrison as a pentecostal variety of the Abominable Snowman, the Yeti, the conservative monster that roams the Everest region.
And what a mighty Everest Bill Shorten must tackle if, as reported, he still has dreams of coming back as Labor leader and then as prime minister.
Just as some adventurers take on Everest without the help of oxygen plucky Shorten will be taking on that virtual Everest without the help of any charisma or popularity.
But back to the real Everest and to why what is happening on and around her seems, to thinking people, so grotesque.
For some of us it is a truism that non-human objects and places and spaces are sometimes (always?) living things, with feelings that should be respected.
So for example we feel for da Vinci's Mona Lisa, her feelings never taken into account, her privacy never respected, every year visited in the Louvre by a jostling, gibbering, selfie-seeking melee of six million folk (surely chips off the same mindless block as the Everest summiters) who only ever spend 15 rapacious seconds "experiencing" her before moving on to their next superficial thrill. It is time to give her a rest, or to allow her to retire for ever, to become a dignified recluse.
And so, thinking similarly, I agree with the historian and veteran Everest authority Jan Morris who, aghast at what's happening, says that violated Everest, a goddess, should become "a universally recognised Site of Holiness, left alone there in its ethereal majesty, out of bounds to all human beings and never to be violated again ..."
When this vision becomes a reality it will be up to the bourgeois world to somehow compensate impoverished Nepal, hitherto so economically dependent on the visits of the rich Dr Ed Dohring's, those perverse mountain molesters.
But millions of us, surely, will cheerfully forego the occasional expensive breakfast of smashed avocado to send the money, instead, to a reputable NGO devoted to allowing the Nepalese to live in frugal comfort.
And one feels sure the deeply sensitive Morrison government will donate, generously, foreign aid designed to help enable Everest, the goddess (a goddess to all of sensitive mankind, including Australians), to be left in peace to reclaim her ethereal majesty.