The Law of Navigation
Law Number Four is called “The Law of Navigation.” The by-line for this chapter reads, “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.” That by-line reflects something that anyone can beat time, but not everyone is a conductor. Anyone can learn how to play a piano but not all will become a pianist. Everyone can learn to swing a golf club but not everyone can become a golfer. Regarding conducting, more than a few famous conductors have said that they can teach anyone the basics of conducting in a few minutes. It is the other parts of conducting that take a lifetime to learn. Maxwell begins this chapter with a fascinating story about the South Pole explorations of two groups, one lead by Roald Amundsen and the other lead by Robert Falcon Scott. Amundsen spent months preparing and studying effective methods of travel in the Arctic while Scott did not invest his time in planning their navigation. Amundsen planned carefully their trip, he studied the methods of the Eskimos and other Arctic travellers and he determine the best course of action for transporting all their equipment and supplies. He chose the expert skiers and dog handlers for his navigation. Amundsen had carefully considered every possible aspects of the journey, thought it through, and planned it accordingly. The result of their journey is successful. On the other side, Scott brought gas powered vehicles which froze up and broke down. Scott brought horses that died in the very cold temperature. Scott hadn’t given enough attention to the team’s other equipment and their clothes were not compatible for the freezing temperature in the South Pole. This explains the differences on both Amundsen and Scott preparation and its effects. Amundsen beat Scott to the South Pole by almost a month because Scott’s trip to the South Pole was fraught with turmoil. As bad as his trip to the South Pole was, his attempted return trip ended with the death of everyone in his...
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