By Kirti Joshi:Â
In the movie, Into the wild (2007), Christopher McCandless’s story is perhaps one of the greatest episodes of tragic heroism. It is the perfect example of hamartia. A brilliant young intellectual and a wanderer soul, a free human who definitely lived a life that was less ordinary. Some say that he paid the gravest price for the love of adventure and solitude but I would argue that he lived a life the way he chose it to be. We are never ready to unplug ourselves from the secure world and what if my ignorance for the ‘perfect life’ is just as good as your intellectual fallacious persuaded ‘prefect life’. So, here are the six things I learnt from this brilliant movie:
Never give up your dreams
Chris’s dream was always unwavering. There are always millions of reasons for us to give up but always keep your goal in sight and if you fail, try harder to achieve your dream. Never compromise to take a stress-free path just because it is the easiest path right now. In the movie, he says that the sea’s only gifts are harsh blows, and occasionally the chance to feel strong… in life it is not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. He did what his heart told him to do and he was able to find his strength. If you take the harder path to your goal, in the end you will realise that the struggles were all just a part of the journey and are worth it for what you have achieved.
Materialistic things are just ‘things’
Christopher realized that material objects weren’t for him. In the movie, his mom and dad want to give him a new ‘fancy’ car and they demand him to leave the junkie but he argues that he does not want a new one. He asked them if they were worried of what the neighbours might think of the old car; he says I don’t want these ‘things’. We are always told that newer and better material possessions will make you happy and satisfied but these properties will never be stylish enough to compete with the hunger for more. Possessions can never love you back because there’s always a more stylish wardrobe or a more sought after car waiting to be launched. Real happiness rarely lies in the bottom of luxury bags. We will feel secure if we place less value on possessions as a means of happiness.
Always be generous
Have you ever thought what would have happened to Christopher McCandless if all those people whom he met during the voyage were not generous enough to help him? Definitely, he would not have had such a fruitful experience; he was able to survive because of the generosity of other people. Especially the open-handedness of the old- man who invited Chris to his house even though he was a complete stranger. The old man was also able to gain from Chris as Chris managed to convince him to give up the monotonous life and take up adventure.
Don’t bother what the society will think about you
We decode the practices by others not simply as they are, but rather we will always see them as we are. Whatever your ideology or system of beliefs are, they will never ever be accepted by everybody, there will always be too much conflict for your liking. In the movie, Carine McCandless tells that Chris had spent four years fulfilling the absurd and tedious duties, the things that cut Chris off from the truth of his existence. If McCandless had listened to the opinions of others he would never have had a life of solitude and peace with nature. Never allow the opinions and negativity of others to control you and your actions.
Find your company in books
If you don’t have people around you doesn’t mean you have no company. You can find absolute happiness with books and they can be never failing friends. They give you some place to go when you are supposed to go where you are. In the movie, ChrisÂ says that he risked what could have been a relentlessly lonely path, but found company in the characters of the books he loved from writers like Tolstoy, Jack London and Thoreau. He could summon their words to suit any occasion, and he often would. We can substitute relationship with books and it can be extremely satisfactory.
Challenge the rules
We live where everybody says that somebody should do it, anybody could have done it but nobody does it because from the inside we know that If we challenge the accepted game of life we will not be sheltered by the consequences of such a hazardous existence. We must lose our inclination for monotonous security. We all have created an invisible circle around us and we never want to step outside it because of the unexpected consequences it may lead to, we are so hallucinated by the idea of a ‘perfect life’ that we will lead inside this circle and we are accustomed to a life of such security, conformity, and protection, all of which may appear to give one peace, but in reality nothing is more damaging than killing all the ideas. People are often bound by the chains of society and it is admirable when one can break free from the day to day “social norm” and do what their heart desires, not what is deemed as acceptable and this is what Christopher did.
McCandless is not that different from many of us, he just took more courageous steps on his journey. Many will find it easy to criticize Christopher McCandless’s story. It’s easy to call him an idiot for the track he chose and I think that makes him all the more worthy because he lived the life he always wanted to live. I believe that Christopher McCandless may have had a short life, but he had a fulfilled one.
If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, the possibility of life is destroyed.Â – Into the wild