Into the Wild

Saturday, 20 March 2010

into the wild

into the wild

into the wild

into the wild

into the wild

Hello! I'm back online, finally. Be warned, this will be a long post, I have much to tell.

I've been asked to give a small lecture on the film Into the Wild later on in the year, and I have to say, it has won its way into my heart. If you don't know the story behind this film, which follows the life story of Christopher McCandless, then click here.

I've read much about people's opinions of what Christopher has done, some who admire him, others who think he was silly, or perhaps had a death wish. Despite the utter irrationality of his actions and the events that led to his death, I cannot help but identify with him and understand his perspective. And I don't think this is naive romanticism.

When I was watching the film, all I could think of was transcendence, transcendence, transcendence. I think that ultimately, that's all he wanted. To transcend. We tend to approach people who adopt a more philosophical perspective on life and society in a rather condescending manner these days. We have lost that ability to approach romanticism as anything other than childish innocence. Or, perhaps more correctly, to view innocence as distinct from naivety. I think there is a difference. There are forms of innocence which hard, rather than soft, that are aware, rather than blind. It's a type of innocence that experiences cynicism and disillusionment and then decides to go the other way.

Those were the thoughts that were running through my mind as I was watching this film, transfixed, and unbelieving at the sheer intensity of his short life. That being said, I don't think we should romanticise him as somebody distinct from ourselves. What is fascinating and ultimately moving about him, is the extent to which he was vulnerable and permeable to human fallacies, like everyone else. I don't admire him, I empathise with him, and I wish he could have done more.

I would love to hear what you think about this film and about the story behind it.

* * *

On another note, thank you so much for your kind comments about my graduation! You are all so sweet. I'm not going to be posting any photos of the graduation online, mainly because my friends and family would not appreciate having their photos splashed for the world to see. However, if you would like to have a peek at me in my full regalia, click here. I had an unfortunate accident on the day of the graduation, which resulted in a slightly swollen chin, but luckily, it doesn't look too bad in the photos.

Despite the lack of photos, I'm more than willing to divulge the details of the graduation in writing. It was such a night of contrasts, moving from formalities and trying to remember things like how I'm supposed to walk across the stage, doff my hat, shake hands with the various important people, smile to the camera, and then the huge sense of relief and relaxation afterwards. The highlight of the night for me was taking off the formal gown, driving to the top of King's Park, and having cake and wine with my friends and family.

Thanks again everyone, I feel as if you've all been through this PhD-process along with me, and the graduation marked the final step.



The Wanderers' Daughter said...

A lovely return post. I do know the story, and I can identify. Though he was young and idealistic, I think he followed a worthy passion. I have spent a great deal of time in the wilderness myself, and i've done some unwise (and probably life-threatening) things myself in that pursuit. I think you're right: he knew what he was doing, and he was probably willing to give his life for it if need be. And that's OK. Some of us are leaders and some of us are not. Some of us are cautious and some of us are not. It's neither wrong nor right. It takes all kinds.

A Sight To Be Seen said...

have you always had that font? its beautiful!!!

amy said...

its one of my favourites (in fact can we squeeze it into the book, i'm very good at making more work for myself!). and what a beautiful paragraph about innocence and romanticism. x

Rina said...

Hila I´m shocked that your post is about this movie, because I saw it last month and I have a lot of ideas and thoughts in my mind all the time with this movie, it really shacked my brain. Actually I want to make an exercise for my students related with design our own space in spite society, culture and nature. It´s a great movie and story, lot´s of think, say and re think again.

You look really cool in that outfit (and believe me is not that simple!)

I let you a little note in my latest post in my blog.
Take care xoxo

Esti said...

congrats on your graduation. I've been recommended to watch that movie a hundred times, but don't seem to find the time to do so. I'll look forward to read your thought on it.

Maria said...

I really liked that movie, now after reading this I feel I have to see it again soon.
BIG CONGRATULATIONS on your graduation!! wow, not bad:)

Make it Easy said...

this was a great movie.
i read the book first, then saw it....both were just as impactful!

reb said...

I really enjoyed reading your ideas about "Into the Wild" and I felt a lot of the same things you did, including empathy and respect. I think your interpretation of his desire for transcendence is very true, but I think there is an innate selfishness in anyone seeking such heights, that sees the pain they inflict on loved ones "left behind" as necessary damage. Can you truly transcend whilst hurting those who love you? Thanks for a stimulating post.

Hila said...

the wanderer's daughter: I agree; he knew what he was doing and idealism doesn't mean stupidity.

a sight to be seen: do you mean my writing font or header font? I've had both for a while now :)

amy: I'm glad we decided to squeeze it into our book :)

rina: great minds think alike :) Thank you for your little note on your blog, but I'm really not an "expert"! And thanks for saying I look cool - it's not an adjective I'd use to describe myself.

esti: I recommend it - it's also one of those films I've been told to watch time and again and never got around to till I had to.

Maria: thank you!

make it easy: yep, I'm reading the book now too, it's fascinating.

reb: I agree, it does take a certain level of idependence and selfishness to do what he did, but that's not always a bad thing. I think the film showed in a rather sympathetic manner the impact it had on his family, but also revealing that his family was part of the impetus behind his philosophy. It's all so complex, I guess that's what makes it interesting.

AMIT said...

How had you capture this pictures birds in the front?

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Des said...

Congrutaltions again. You look so happy in your graduation picture.

Hila said...

Thanks Des! I was happy, and relieved that the moment had finally arrived.

Jenaveve said...

Hi Hila,
(and congratulations!)

I saw Into The Wild some time ago but I still recall how it moved me. I definitely felt sad for the way his life ended and thought how wonderful it would have been had he more opportunity to carry on. An intriguing character (and brilliantly portrayed by Emile).

Hila said...

Hi jenaveve! Yes, I agree, he was portrayed brilliantly by emile. In fact, everyone was pretty fantastic in that film.