The democratisation of hard achievements

I watch, with fascination, the democratisation of hard achievements. Genuinely hard and dangerous achievements, once considered the realm of fiction, are now viable if not quite commonplace yet.

There’s a Channel Swimming Association now and you get a certificate. According to the Spectator “There have been 2,373 successful solo swims since Matthew Webb in 1875.”

Nor is it extremely special any longer to climb Mt. Everest (Qomolongma). I worked for a mountaineer once who told me that you could push your grandmother up the Hillary Route in a wheelchair (I always liked that image). According to Wikipedia “by the end of 2016 there were 7,646 summits by 4,469 people.” Makes you wonder about the supposed Japanese saying that here are two kinds of fools: those who never climb Mount Everest and those who do it twice.

Obviously, there’s also quite a number who do hard things once. That’s more my speed. I watched a Madonna film once (OK, not all of it), I’m raising children just now.

Fascination turns to awe at the genuinely special achievements of Richard Browning of UK based Gravity Industries Limited. If ‘the courts of England are open to all, like the Ritz Hotel,’ then Richard is democratising personal jet packs. The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has granted Patent No. GB2559971 for “A wearable flight system with propulsion assemblies worn on a user’s body”.

His Iron Man style jet suits are commercially available in Selfridges (though current out of stock) and are well worthy of further investigation.

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