Dependent Origination

Into the Wild

Posted on: December 23, 2014


好看 一个让人忘不了的故事 为什么一个人会放弃自己富裕的家庭 美好的未来 财产 给自己起个新名字 开始流浪 最后在阿拉斯加的荒原上靠自己的力量 没有prepared food store 生存了119天 看着书的封面上那个famed wrecked bus where Chris McCandless spent his 119 days in the Alaska wilderness, hunted and gathered for his own food, running a calorie deficit because of not enough food, and then, according to the author’s theory, mistakenly eating the seed pod of wild potatoes, his body unable to get rid of the toxin should he have enough glucose and fat in his body he would survive, but now starved to death over a two-week period.

Why? Was he just stupid, or arrogant, or foolhardy, as many claimed? The author, fascinated by the protagonist, felt the similarity between him and his own impulsive youth, set out to give us a story about Chris, how he grew up, what made him so mad at his parents, what happened to him after he disappeared from his family’s view right after his college graduation, what those people he touched their hearts during his two-year on the road, hitchhiked the Western America. They say he is smart, intelligent, excellent work ethic. They say he can be gregarious, he can be preachy, he closes himself up without answering any questions about his family but he talked about his sister a lot. There are a few souls, especially an old man, who has never gotten over his loss of his medical-school-graduating son and wife in a car accident. By the time Chris met the old man, Chris was 24 and the old man was 80. But Chris broke through all those carefully laid barriers of the old man and entered into his world, his heart. Such that after Chris left, the old man left his job and started camping out in the same spot Chris camped and waiting for Chris’s return from his Alaska trip.

It is so sad to see that Chris is lost – as the author said, Chris nearly made it, barring two mistakes. One being he forgot a frozen river in April would become a torrent in July – so when he was ready to go back to the world he only found himself unable to cross the river and was forced to go back into the bus to live another month and half. In his denonciation of the world, he tossed his map – should he have a good map, he would be able to find a basket crossing a mile downstream from where he tried. The second mistake is at the end of July, when he accidentally ate the seed pod of wild potato, probably because of the calorie deficit even if he was fairly successful in hunting small game but the meat was lean and was not enough. Nothing was said about the poisoning nature of the seed pod of the wild potato on Chris’s book of edible plants. But a toxin in it, if not purging out of the body, would make the digestive system unable to absorb anything from the food you put in it – despite his efforts in feeding himself during the two week period, his body cannot get anything out of those food Chris spent probably his life finding in the wild. So his body just deterioates, essentially starves to death. It is surely a very painful way to die, as Chris said on the margin of books.

You can imagine what kind of damage this has done to Chris’s family. It is a forever hole for his dad, mom and sister. A boy who couldn’t get over his parents’, especially his dad’s mistake, and who broods over it, who holds up an extremely high moral standard for everyone, especially his parents, who never called his parents and let them know where he was. Became a son lost. His mom mentioned a striking detail – in July 1992, his mom remembered hearing Chris calling out “mom help me” in the middle of the night, when she was not sleeping. She said she cannot get over it her entire life – she wanted to help but did not know where Chris was! According to the investigation the author laid out, Chris probably started the starvation process at the end of July, when he noted in the books he brought along to read the extreme weakness he was suffering at the time.

Despite all the sadness, I find relation to Chris. The free spirit, the desire to get on the road, start wondering around, going to places we have never been, trying to be self-reliant, getting away from the expectations of yourself, getting away from the grind. Every time I travel, I have all of those feelings. But Chris actually made serious attempts trying to live out the dream. That is the main difference between him and everyone else. He died for his dream and for that reason he would remain in my memory.


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