Picture above is Mt Kilimanjaro (Africa). Picture below is Mt Blanca (Bolivia).
Not everyone climbs mountains, however stories of climbing adventures provide insight into the adventure of life that we all share: overcoming obstacles in life and reaching out to something bigger and higher than immediate daily activities. History and psychology indicate that this is a strong human need that includes having a sense of meaning and purpose. Mountains can symbolize obstacles in meeting these needs, and experiences in climbing mountains provide a vehicle both actually and figuratively for exploring mechanisms and impacts involved. The book begins with a personal experience climbing Mount Fuji that nearly ended in disaster, with the question of why people do such things. Subsequent chapters alternate between mountain climbing experiences and research results about why people pursue difficult tasks. A bottom-up approach supports culminating proposals of spirituality as a universal personality trait, nognosticism that recognizes knowledge is limited, ecumenical humanism for religious tolerance, and the philosophy of pragmatic pluralism. For life to be meaningful and manageable, people need a sense of purpose and coherence that is best met by having belief in a higher transcendent realm while also having enough doubt about its nature or validity to pursue a quest for ultimate reality despite the great paradox.