Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Into The Wild

At some points in this life, you realize some truths that just are. Whether through stimulation by outside influences or by introspective forces, these moments come and we should cherish them.

One of the major eye-opening points for me was my mission. So many things that I took for granted in my everyday life, so many things I had never thought about, so many of these salient truths waiting to be discovered were there waiting for me in Ecuador. The simplicity of life, the humility of the people, and their complete happiness with what little they had been given in life, really illustrated for me what happiness is.

I've been home for 2 1/4 years now and some of those lessons, though learned and internalized are not so poignantly placed in my mind. Which brings me to the above named movie (based on a book, which was based on the true story), Into The Wild.

The young man is about my age and graduates college and decides to experience what such writers as Henry D. Thoreau and Jack London wrote about as they found themselves in the solitude of this great earth. I'm not here to post about the story behind it (you can watch/read that on your own) but the truths behind it. The main character Chris is looking for happiness which he did not have at home. He travels and interacts with people across the nation all on a quest to go North, to Alaska. (SPOILER ALERT) When he finally gets there, he thinks he's happy until stranded alone on a river that grew much bigger than what it was in winter. He eats the wrong plant and just before dying realizes the one great truth behind happiness:

"Happiness is only real when shared"

He had found it on the road with the people he had met and befriended, he had found it through human interaction. Happiness doesn't come from things, or money, or whatever else, it comes from those we love and care about, from those precious moments when we are at ease with those we love.

There is so much good in this world, we just need to get people to look at it another way. We need to get out of our cocoons and be the kind caring people we are meant to be but sometimes forget we are.

I love landscapes, sunsets, the beauty of nature. How often do you take a moment to savor a sunset? To share a sweet tender moment with those you love? To share happiness? This is what we should pursue in life. In closing here are some good quotes that express some of the ideas of the movie:

-"You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only...from human relationships. God has placed it all around us...and all you have to do is reach for it." (Jon Krakauer, Into The Wild)

- "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." (Henry David Thoreau)

- "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." (Henry David Thoreau)

- "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." (Henry David Thoreau)

- "Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." (Henry David Thoreau)

- "The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." (Jack London)


Jodi Jean said...

so did you read the book or just watch the movie?

i read that book in college and LOVED it, i haven't seen the movie yet. i guess i better add it to my netfix queue.

T.J. Shelby said...

Loved it...

Heidi Maloy said...

Ok, everyone loved that movie, and I for one hated it- the kid was stupid, he had so many opportunities along his path to find what he was looking for and kept throwing it away to keep searching. What good is it to figure out the secrets of your life (that were there all along) on your deathbed? I respect him for taking his quest, but he wasted so much of his time, resources, relationships.... and when all said and done, he was completely selfish! (and for being so smart, he did a lot of stupid things). Anyway, there is my two cents, what good is searching for happiness if you are not going to grab on when it is right there in your grasp??

Having said all that, Scott your insights and were great reminders of what real happiness is in our lives and that we all have the chance (to not be like that stupid kid) to cherish those around us that we love.

T.J. Shelby said...

Heidi, it was also about the journey. Without the journey he wouldn't have come to the realization. His home life wasn't exactly conducive to introspective pondering about one's place in existence.

While it is tragic that his life was cut short after reaching his realization, he achieved something many spend their whole lives searching for yet never find.

It is just the tragedy of life. Inevitably we will have regrets, even those of us enlightened by the gospel. So many of us still miss the mark. We just have to realize that it is not the spoon that bends only ourselves...

Nicole Shelby said...

at different times in the movie i alternately hated it and loved it. i agree with heidi, and tj.

ultimately though: i liked it. we all search for happiness - his search was just much more literal than ours. i've found happiness...and strive to continue to remember what i've already learned again and again.

how many people would have the guts to decide that their lifestyle is not what they want, and isn't conducive to finding what they want - and abandon it? to truly just walk away and live without...well, just without?

so many want to do it, but don't have the guts or ability or whatever.

now, that doesn't appeal to me. i have no desire to abandon my family and life in alaska. but, i can understand it.

do i think he's foolish for not embracing his happiness sooner. to paying attention to his life as it is and was and enjoying it. rather than sacrificing it in a search for what might be - yes.

the tragedy is that it took such an ultimate sacrifice before he grasped fundamental realities. i hope more people can remember what truly matters...before they kill themselves with partial botany knowledge.