I have had this movie sitting on our DVD player for about a month now from Netflix. I just couldn’t get the 2.5 hours to watch it. I also was not too enthusiastic about watching it.
I read the book before the movie came out. And I have the same thoughts about the movie as I had the book. None of my criticism is movie related.
I do not believe in the philosophy. I have a different worldview from Alexander Supertramp or Christopher McCandless. At one point in the movie, he comments to Hal Holbrooke about the inferiority of human relationships over one’s relationship with adventure and nature.
But we would not even know his story if it were not for the human relations. I believe all we are are our human relations. When I die, I am pretty sure my experiences and what I have learned dies with me. It is not passed on to someone else or to anything without me giving it to someone else.
I understand the anger with society and its materialism or hypocrisy. But even there, my problem with society is its self-aggrandizing and push for selfishness. He was completely right that people can be bad. But as he experienced, not all people are bad. People help each other. There are good people and we cannot let those who only think of themselves drag down those who think of others.
We have friends, family, colleagues, and other relations that only use us as means to an end. We get a phone call from them when they are lonely. We get invited to something when they need you. They see some sort of positive gain in their march to some great goal that they will use you to get there.
Of course, those people exist. Of course, there are too many of them. But it is up to us to make a decision to whom we will spend out time and to whom we will dedicate our lives. He left everyone behind, even those who helped him and loved him and wanted the best for him.
I could never do that. It isn’t a weakness. It’s a strength. I have connections with people that mean more to me than anything I could ever buy or achieve. We should be striving for that. Not an independence from society, but a revolution in society.
We should not be rewarding selfishness. We should not be rewarding materialistic success. Unfortunately, I see what Mr. McCandless did as selfish. He had a mission in life that he decided, but he lost touch with the human qualities of living. He didn’t need to become the lawyer his father wanted him to become, or the Hollywood jerks that he saw and fled from. There are so many types of people. He met so many of them on his travels. That should be what we learn from his story. Not this romantic ideal of hitting the road and living off of the land. Those are the things that killed him. What kept him alive for as long as he was was the boots that he received, the advice he got from fellow travelers and hunters, the emotional support he received from friends, and the books he got from others. Human connections are the most important part of life.
When I die, I want people to remember what I did for them, not what I did. It can be small things or big things. But I want to be there for others. Not for myself or the betterment of society or some grand goal. If someone needs a dollar, I will give them a dollar. If someone needs to borrow a pair of shoes, they get shoes. If someone needs to talk to me, I will listen.
So, maybe I did learn something from the story. I don’t need to flee civilization or rant about society. I need to focus on what is important to be because in a brief moment, it can be gone.