Monday, October 15, 2007

Into the Wild

Okay. I am absolutey FASCINATED by a new book: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

I recommend this book to every person who reads this. I am utterly astounded. I can't put this book down, I can't stop thinking about it--it follows me everywhere, in my mind of course.

The cover of the book basically reveals the background of the story: In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in his savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, buried all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter...

The book retraces his hitchhiking escapades, completely based on interviews and experiences had by all of those who encountered him. His life absolutely amazes me. This man was such an amazing, brilliant, free-spirit who died at the hands of being different and seeking adventure. I wish I had that much devotion to a cause or passion to live a certain way that I would give up material things for it.

This passage stuck out to me, and I felt that I really need to share it with as many people as I can. This passage was written by this man himself to a friend of his, giving him wise advice:

"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty."

Wow. Wise. Can it be better said?

Change is such a scary thing for people, but taking risks (like threatening your stability through creating change) brings the greatest rewards. Taking chances (like instigating a relationship) may bring negativity (rejection), but sometimes it does work out. Don't those experiences bring us the greatest highs?

We have to keep changing our horizons, otherwise we will be sucked into a life of monotony, like he describes, and how can we change and learn if we remain so stagnant? Does it mean that we have to keep traveling? Not necessarily. I think we need to be open to try new things and experience, adventure, and explore our surroundings, including the people in those surroundings. Our neighbors can teach us the most valuable lessons.

And, so many people DO live with negativity because they refuse to let go of it. It's all up to that person to release that negative energy within themselves. Some situations are harder than others, but when we learn to forgive, then we can truly be happy and peaceful with ourselves.

Like another book I'm teaching with my class writes, something along the lines of, "We can only be truly peaceful when we find it within ourselves." (We talked about that in class today, which is ironic because it has to do with my rant on another fabulous book). Literature intertwines with life. That's a secret.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. What do you think or make of the above quotation? Please give me some feedback--it's too monumental and interesting to ignore.

Here is the brilliant, deceased man himself.


Diane said...

Wow! I really enjoyed reading that. Well written. We'll have a discussion on it sometime.

Mike said...

I Love this story. It is absolutely great and it inspires me. The movie just came out a week or two ago. I saw it. I can't decide which is better the book or the movie, undoubtedly both are wonderful. Two things i loved about the movie were Chris's sister's commentary and the soundtrack by Eddie Vedder! Jami Watch this movie!! You will love it!! I miss you

Steve said...

I just finished watching the movie, and now will read the book. The travelings of Chris (supertramp) McCandless held me mesmerized and humbled. My life has been one of constant strife and sudden changes and it has lead me to change many times. In my journeys I have experienced so many different things and people that it sometimes sets me back a bit. Some for just a moment in time and others that are still much apart of my life and has made an imprint on the way I live my life today.
Chris was a wise young man in many ways, and to be able to experience those things in such a way in today's lifestyle is simply amazing. You know sometimes in life we become complacent to what is waiting just down the trail, that we start to do the things that we think are what we want. The expensive cars and boats and big houses with that beach house in Maui, all become the ideal of what we strive for. Even though most will not admit it, most all of us think that is what life is all about. Maybe your perceptions differ, instead of a fancy car maybe a limo with driver, or a platinum card with no limit and no worries of paying it off, it really doesn’t matter. To give up you latte’s and massages or your time share’s and golf game for just simple pleasures like a sunset over a mountain range that really doesn’t have a name seems utterly ridiculous. Especially if that means that you would have to go there without all of the common comforts, basically just going with the tide.
Funny thing is, going without some of the pleasures we have in life is what ended Chris’s. For all his wisdom he was not prepared for life on that scale. A sad thing because I think he had a lot too share with the world and it’s a shame that his life was cut so short. This human being has touched my life and is another moment added that I will think about from time to time.
Life is waiting, you just keep getting older. Try something that maybe isn’t comfortable to you. The reward may not seem much to you at the moment, but memories are what our lives are made of. The kind of experiences that cost lots of money may be nice, but really have no resonance in making us who we are. Take away all the money and there you are can you be happy? Can you find moments in that to which you see life’s beauties?
Sorry for rambling…I was just really moved by this man’s short lived adventure.

Scotty K said...

I came across your blog searching for Thoreau's "Give me truth" quote and enjoyed your writings. I've seen Into The Wild but have yet to read the book. After reading your blog I fully intend to pick it up as soon as possible and read it over Christmas. Happy writing!

akshay ranga said...

i love this book and the movie.
chris gave me a path to walk his ideas cleared up my sky and finally i can fly now thank you chris may you live long in our hearts.........