[Like many others, Arnold Lunn considered himself an advocate of reason. He is emphatic that when feeling comes into conflict with reason, feeling must always give way. But when reason has nothing to say either way on an issue, then feelings may be taken into account, and perhaps even considered to have some evidential value, as he implies in the following episode from his career as an mountain climber. In your opinion is such a stance consistent with reason? Specifically, do you think that the feeling he describes in the fourth paragraph carries any evidential weight?]
I have survived five long falls among the mountains, and my memories of these falls are among the imponderables which have lessened my own fear of death because death never seemed to me less real than in those moments when death seemed inevitable. Nor can this apparent paradox be explained on the assumption that my reasoning power had been temporarily put out of action, for one can pack an amazing amount of concentrated thought into a long fall.
Falling is an emotional experience so intense that ordinary life seems unreal by comparison. The dominant sensation during my last fall was the feeling that the intervening years since I fell on Cader had been nothing but a dream, and that real life began again during the moments when gravity had taken complete control.
The strangest fact about these experiences was that never once did the possibility of extinction cross my mind, not even during a long slide down an ice slope towards a glacier many hundreds of feet below. The movement, though swift, was smooth. There was no violence to distract my thoughts. I remember an intense feeling of irritation against myself for slipping and with my companion for failing to check that slip. Two friends on another rope seemed curiously impassive and unsympathetic as we shot past them. There was nothing they could have done, but I felt that they might have made a gesture as we passed. Even a ritualistic gesture of farewell would have relieved their irresponsive immobility.
But I never said to myself, This is the end. In a few seconds my existence comes to a full stop. On the contrary, I felt that the experience through which I was passing was disagreeable but not decisive, an episode but not the end.
That particular slide was checked by a friendly little spike of rock which protruded a few inches above the ice. The rope between us caught on this rock, and some loose snow which had been swept off the ice by the rope packed between the rope and the rock, but for which the rope must inevitably have been cut.
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