40th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest without oxygen: Health:Angel meets extreme athlete

The Health Media Award is known to be the toughest competition for health communication. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest without oxygen, Markus Berger, HMA initiator, met Reinhold Messner in his museum in Bolzano.

"Oh, it's you. What is your mission? Are you a politician or a doctor? What drives you? With these words, extreme mountaineer Reinhold Messner welcomed the 1st Chairman of the Health Media Award e.V., Markus Berger. At the age of 75, Messner does not mince his words when it comes to winning him over for new ideas, such as serving on the jury for the next Health Media Award. "Health, that's the job of doctors. I don't know anything about that.Messner summed up. Reinhold Messner believes that the HMA is about communicating relevant health issues and that organisations such as Doctors Without Borders or campaigns such as "Protect Your Head" (Adel Tawil/ZNS-Hannelore Kohl Foundation) have already been awarded a Health:Angel.

The "campfire discussion" that followed in the Messner Mountain Museum just under 80 visitors took part.

HMAeV: If it is your last day on this earth and I tell you that everything you have written down, everything you have recorded and achieved will be erased, but you have the opportunity to write down 3 things on this piece of paper, what would those 3 things be that you would like to pass on to people?

Reinhold Messner: You are absolutely right. Everything that remains, including my books, they will disappear. In the face of death, life seems absurd. And that would make it clear that we ourselves can and must give meaning to our lives. Meaning does not fall from the sky. And what I do is nothing other than to develop ideas to which I give meaning, breathe into them I say now, come very close to the Bible, and by giving meaning I am able to make realities out of these ideas. They have no meaning, but while I am doing it, successful life is created in the here and now. And if I only have one day, I don't need to write anything down, but go out into the forest, or sweep as far as my feet will carry me, somewhere out into nature, and then I extinguish and disappear. I imagine dying as going into a vast, wide, silent expanse, timelessness, infinity, absolute peace, absolute deceleration, there is no more beautiful existence. After all, you come to South Tyrol on holiday to finally have a different rhythm of life, no longer the pressure or the hectic pace, no longer the aggression you experience when you drive through the city early in the morning. Unfortunately, we are destroying this habitat, this great opportunity to find peace and deceleration, because we all drive up and down the same Dolomite passes, I am not excluding myself, but it is too late at the end of life to look back on a successful life. That's why I said I don't write anything down any more, because that would also disappear. If my 50th books disappear, my last sentences disappear too, and for the world and the future my life has only a very limited, short-lived meaning. But while I was doing my things, there was nothing more important in the world. I was completely absorbed in what I was doing and I didn't feel happiness, but afterwards, when I felt it was a piece of successful life, I realised I was really happy. As long as we ask ourselves, am I happy or not, we will never be. As long as we think we can hunt, catch or capture happiness, we are deceiving ourselves. Only when we no longer think that we want to be happy do we realise afterwards that we were happy because we were completely absorbed in something, in a sound, in another person.

The facts: On 20 August 1980, Reinhold Messner single-handedly reached the 8848 metre summit of the Mount Everest - and wrote alpine history with it.