Monday, November 12, 2012

Into the Wild

“...there are so few with whom I can share the things that mean so much to me that I have learned to contain myself.” ― Jon KrakauerInto the Wild

Perhaps the sincerest frustration in life is the inability to communicate anything real. I hate that. Many things hinder me on a regular basis; yet undoubtedly the most tragic is retreating within myself because words cannot communicate meaning, or at least, not in the ways I wish they could. 

Perhaps this is why I write. 

Last night I watched Into the Wild for the first time. It is an inspiring yet tragic movie based on a true story of a young graduate from college, Christopher "Alex" McCandless, who destroys all ties to society, burning his social security card and all of his money, and takes off for the wilderness and the life of a traveler. 

Previously, I wrote a post about Fight Club. I found some very similar themes tied to Into the Wild, such as the struggle against constant security and materialism. I related to Alex, the protagonist, in so many ways. I think we can all relate to Alex, to his dreams of leaving the security and predictablility of this life behind and going on a great adventure. Yet, we often forget we want this. 

Do we really forget, or do we chose not to remember? 

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 peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.   Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
Of course, Alex was a young college graduate. Therefore, he had the option of throwing away his former way of life and chasing after the wind. Most of us do not. Most of us have responsibilities to our families. Yet, Alex's worldview is still inspiring. In an age where people are desperate for a sense of security, the assurance of success, and the comfort of financial and material access, I believe we are in danger of losing our humanness. I think we need to break free from the idea that our happiness lies in the things we have or what we accomplish. This theme was evident in Fight Club as well. However, Into the Wild goes even deeper. Alex also warns against finding solace in relationships. He says, 
You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living. -- Christopher "Alex" McCandless ― Jon KrakauerInto the Wild
It's not that human relationships aren't significant. At the end of the story, Alex admits that "...the only certain happiness in life is to live for others..." With that being said, it is important to see the difference between looking for personal joy in relationships and dedicating one's life to live for the sake of others. Seeing the difference can be life-changing. 

Perhaps we find the sincerest means of Joy not in what we do, or in who we are with, or in what we know, but in what is; what is seen and unseen, what is experienced, what is present all around us. I am firmly convinced that Joy can be found in all things, all circumstances. 

I want to communicate this idea to people. I want them to understand they can throw off their conditioned need for security. My friends, your knuckles are turning white, it's time to let go. You are more than your house, your debt, and your name-brand clothes. You're more than the car you drive or the food you eat. You are more than than the church building you go to or the way your husband or wife treats you (or doesn't treat you). 

What rich and profound lives we live, or can live, as humans! I believe we were created to reflect something beautiful, something much greater than a hoarding, rodent-like existence we are sometimes reduced to. It's okay if you don't know what will happen tomorrow. In fact, it's better that way. It is okay if you don't know where your money will come from, or even your next meal. This might sound terrifying, devastating. Yet, when we can embrace the unknown and uncontrolled, we learn to surrender, to live not out of self-preservation, but out of generous, over-flowing hearts that refuse to worry. 

Here I must ask a very difficult question of myself. Perhaps you should do the same:

Do I truly believe that God will provide for me needs? If I say I do, does my life reflect this?

Life is a great adventure, don't ruin it. 


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