Appendix 1. Reality

Major renovations were completed in late October 2017 but I expect that warts remain.
Thanks for your patience. Allan

Appendix 1. Reality.

Introduction.
Arthur Moffatt did not die because the party had lost sense of reality.
The cause of his death is documented in Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

The accusation,
an implicit one, was made in the following one-sentence paragraph.
When the five young men stumbled into Baker Lake, an RCMP officer made a quick assessment: “So, ‘he said’ you lost your sense of reality.” [Kingsley, Up Here, bottom of p 91; also Kingsley book, bottom of p 189]
As I document in the next paragraph, the unspecified source for the passage was Grinnell’s book.
Caution. I have learned to trust nothing written by Grinnell unless it is supported by evidence from a reliable, independent source.

The source of the passage.
0. All five survivors were interviewed by the RCMP, Pessl in Baker Lake, the others in Churchill MB.
1. The text of the accusation matches poorly with the following.
One Mountie commented that we had “lost sense of reality”. Actually, we thought of it differently. We felt that we had discovered reality. Something had transformed us as Moffatt knew it would: we had begun to feel an inner peace, that sense of gratitude not only for the gifts of the caribou, which had died for us, the mushrooms, the fish, the berries, but also a sense of gratitude toward one another, our little group of kind friends across the abyss, and gratitude for the awesome harmony, the beauty and the terror that we had discovered on that inward voyage across the “Barrenlands”. [Grinnell article (1988), p 56]
2. The text agrees well with the following.
The Mounties divided us up into separate rooms and asked us to tell of the events which had led to the death of our leader, Arthur Moffatt. The Mountie who interviewed me was friendly and encouraging as I spoke. At the end, he concluded: “So you lost your sense of reality.”
I stared at him in uncomprehending disbelief. Perhaps it is true that back in June, when I had first joined the others at Stony Rapids, a Hudson’s Bay post on Lake Athabaska, I had not had a very profound appreciation of reality. I had had visions of heroic deeds and epic accomplishments. I had been on my best behavior. But the luxury of my youthful illusions had been stripped from me soon enough.
[Grinnell book (1996), p 2]
3. The text agrees very well also with the passages
(a) The Mountie stared at me, as if waiting for an answer. “… so you lost your sense of reality.” I stared back. [Grinnell book, p 44]
(b) “So you lost your sense of reality”, the young RCMP officer had said. It had not seemed like a loss to me at the time. The reality I had discovered was the reality of the Garden of Eden, the most beautiful reality I have ever experienced. [Grinnell book, p 156].
4. Conclusion. Kingsley’s source was Grinnell’s book.
5. Another Grinnell assertion.
Perhaps, during the course of my tale, he [the RCMP officer who interviewed Grinnell] had developed a certain amount of sympathy for me and was hinting that a plea of insanity, or a “loss of a sense of reality,” might not be viewed unfavorably by the civilized authorities. [Grinnell book, p 4]
Response.
Grinnell appears to suggest that the RCMP was considering laying a charge of criminal negligence, perhaps even murder, against one or more of the survivors.
No evidence is known to me that such was the case. Certainly Grinnell provided no evidence in support, nothing comparable is provided in Pessl’s book, and I found none elsewhere in the Moffatt literature.

Comment.
The accuser, whose source was Grinnell’s book, thereby had access to the expository material I stared at him in uncomprehending disbelief … the civilized authorities that starts near the top of page 2 and continues to near the bottom of page 4. That passage is a mini essay, Grinnell’s musings on the meaning of reality in the context of Moffatt’s death, nothing more. But the accuser made no mention of this passage.
There exists no evidence that Grinnell was even so much as hinting that loss of sense of reality, whatever the interpretation of that phrase, was responsible for the tragedy.

Summary.
1. It misrepresented the evidence to quote out of context the remark “So, ‘he said’ you lost your sense of reality.” The same conclusion would apply had the source been Grinnell’s article, for there also the phrase lost sense of reality was an introduction to a discussion of the meaning of reality in the context of Moffatt’s death.
2. Grinnell’s statement Perhaps, during the course of my tale, he [the RCMP officer who interviewed Grinnell] had developed a certain amount of sympathy for me and was hinting that a plea of insanity, or a “loss of a sense of reality,” might not be viewed unfavorably by the civilized authorities [Grinnell book, p 4] has no known basis in truth.
3. If anyone lost sense of reality, it was no member of the Moffatt party. It was rather James Murphy, who wrote the following of Moffatt.
Slightly giddy from lack of food, a profound quietude and serenity has settled on your spirit. Logically you know you shouldn’t tarry but you linger there for weeks, entranced, as if moving would break some spell, disturbing your reverie. Danger lurks, yet you can’t seem to focus on it.
[James Murphy; Che-Mun, Canoelit section. Moffatt, Myth & Mysticism. Spring 1996, pp 5 and 11].
http://www.canoe.ca/AllAboutCanoes/book_deathbarrens.html

Internal URLs.

Foreword and Forum.
Main text.
Appendix 1. Reality.
Appendix 3. Equipment.
Appendix 4. Experience.
Appendix 5. Pace and weather.
Appendix 6. Food.
Appendix 7. Schedule.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
Ancillary 1. Accusations.
Ancillary 2. Lanouette excerpt.
Ancillary 3. Tyrrell excerpt.
Ancillary 4. Distances.
Ancillary 5. Loose ends and the future.
Ancillary 6. Addenda.
Ancillary 7. Moffatt’s Tyrrell sources.
Ancillary 8. Evidence regarding the tragedy.
Bibliography.

Notice.
With the exception of quoted material, copyright to the above belongs to Allan Jacobs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *