Anonymous said: would you say chris mccandless is someone who's an idol to you?
I think many men, myself included, share or at least empathize with his idealism. In my frequent solitude, I’ve often considered the arbitrary, temporary comforts that material things bring and the silly, meaningless routines that working adults follow until dying in a much less poetic manner than McCandless (or any other adventurer).
Most men - most people - don’t try to understand or transcend the more humdrum aspects of daily life and live out a philosophy or ideal like McCandless. His case is exceptionally rare, especially in a time where the course of one’s life - especially a youth’s life - is supposed to be predictable. Birth. High school (preferably a private one). College (preferably a ‘nice’ one). Job for 35 years. Retire. Take a cruise. Die. But McCandless’ journey was extreme by any measure.
Intelligent people (like McCandless and Krakauer) eventually make peace - or at least a ceasefire - with society, with the system. Some embrace it, chasing ideals or material pleasure or self-satisfaction or to kill off their personal demons. McCandless’ rebellion was a fierce one, but ultimately, he made his peace. What he would’ve done to sustain that peace is anybody’s guess. But his peace, and the peace of many others like him, is an uneasy one. Predictably, I’m predisposed to play the role of the armchair historian. And so I can’t help but ask myself if the methods by which we organize the society we live in are not at the root of the matter, and more importantly, how many more McCandlesses are there? How many more souls will the system alienate and eventually destroy? Could a pragmatist, a realist working within the system and relishing every minute of it convince me his beliefs were honest? I don’t know anymore.
We are all heroes to ourselves. McCandless was. The final photograph he took of himself is of a wasted face, gaunt but beautiful with the shining eyes of one who has lived his dream and is satisfied. I hope that when my days are up on this earth, that I had the strength and faith to live a good life, follow my own convictions, and be a good friend and influence to everyone that I know. Because happiness in only real shared.
Inspiring blog - how many Chris McCandlesses are out there?