Scott 100 Day 54 24th December 1911 : No such thing as the truth – just perception

The Truth. Wright is on his way back to base camp. His response to the news he was heading back seems to vary depending on the commentator. Scott himself describes his response as having some bitterness. Teddy Evan’s describes the response as sad but that the men ‘loyally abided by the decision of our chief’. Smith notes that Wright states in his diary that he is ‘too wild to write’. But this difference of response and perception exists through out the trip. Teddy Evans talks about the hard work of manhauling yet Cherry-Garrard and Wright are reported as feeling that Evan’s didn’t always pull his weight. These stories and more are highlighted throughout the numerous polar texts. Interestingly if you look hard enough at Shackleton’s Endurance trip, which he took after Scott’s Terra Nova expedition, you can see the same behaviours and misunderstandings. They may all be telling the truth as a way of understanding of their own perception of what happened.

Scotts Journal December 24th 1911. They are marching in wind blouses and with increased head protection as the wind is now a constant on the march. They are now heading due south. They can see a pressure ridge to their side but they miss it although there maybe another appearing in the distance. They covered 14 miles and the surface towards the end of the march varied form soft to hard and from dips and rises. Scott hopes these will be short lived as he does not want to alter course to avoid the areas ahead of them. The constant wind is unpleasant when they stop but keeps the men cool as they march but it is making their faces ice up. ‘The temperature hovers about zero’. ‘We have not struck a crevasse all day, which is a good sign. The sun continues to shine in a cloudless sky, the wind rises and falls and about us is a scene of the wildest desolation, but we are a very cheerful party and tomorrow is Christmas Day, with something extra in the hoosh’.

Commentary. I find it more normal and more believable that there are differences in the perception of the men involved. The story of Scott the great leader with no flaws and total loyalty is not true and neither is it true of Shackleton. The fact they both achieved so much and yet were both flawed is the amazing thing. Teddy Evan’s went on to become a Rear Admiral and so he understood something of longevity and legacy, he also perhaps understood the need to pace oneself. He has been pulling longer than anyone and is still going forward. Yet if you have put all you could into the effort and are on your way home it is easy to build resentment for those you think you carried because they didn’t put their all into the effort. There is no such think as the truth on this march, only perception and that makes it the story it is and also offers similarities to the teams we work in.

About hutpoint

Interested in leadership, teamwork, resistance, perseverence and change. A former senior nurse dedicated to learning from and sharing with other flawed humans.
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