donderdag 8 december 2011

No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees... to become lost in the wild

“Two years he walks the Earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return, 'cause "the West is the best." And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure. The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual revolution. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the great white north. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild.” - Christopher McCandless 

The thing that most annoyed me about Jon Krakauer's book 'Into the Wild' about Chris McCandless failed attempt to become a self-barbarized hunter-gatherer in the Alaska wild is that it is structured like a Discovery Documentary: small chapters, small episodes, dramatized reconstructions in mute colours, talking heads against dark backgrounds, everything in focus to catch a grimace or, even better, a tear. However McCandless is the Robinson Crusoe of our times, the Dharma Bum of contemporary romanticism: the lone genius returning to nature with a wild food plant guide in his backpack, willing to live off the landscape. Defoe portrays Crusoe as someone who conquers nature by strict discipline and hard work, McCandless seemed to worked from the premiss that nature would feed him if he behaved correct towards it. The thing that killed him (he famished) was that he relied on book learning instead of first going through the needed education of place: apprenticing with the people who live(d) out there in the wild: native American, Eskimo people, trappers, etc. It's the old thing: individualism versus communalism. 

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