Thursday, November 15, 2007

A great movie

I'm gonna break from blogger tradition and title this post according to its contents instead of the usual enigmatic song lyric that no one really recognizes or finds relevant to the post.

I saw Into the Wild on Tuesday night with Ems. What a powerful movie. For those who don't know, the movie details the life of Chris McCandless. McCandless was a college graduate who became disillusioned with the prospect of joining the work force and pursuing the American Dream. As a result, immediately after graduating he set out on the road to live off the grid and be free to pursue any goal. Chris burned all of his identification and money and eventually abandoned his car. He successfully severed all ties to his past life so well, in fact, that a private investigator (hired to find him) was never able to track him down.

The reason that this movie struck a chord with me is that I have been wrestling with the same issues of society's expectation and standards for a "successful" life. It seem that what society wants for me is to throw myself at a career so that everything else becomes secondary. Even my faith takes a backseat. I'll state publicly that God comes first but in reality I'll only pursue God in a manner that respects my career choices and personal ambitions. Never mind the fact that Jesus was a homeless man who wandered the countryside healing and teaching amongst the outcasts of society.

The story of Chris McCandless is inspiring to me because he resisted what we all want to resist. The stagnant lifestyle of the American Dream and living for your eventual retirement when you can finally live as you want, just in time to die. I mean, what the crap are we doing? During the movie, Chris reads a passage from Tolstoy. I can't remember the exact wording but it was to this effect: True happiness is only found when performing good deeds amongst those who are not accustomed to having them performed. I'm not sure what Tolstoy's spirtual beliefs were but holy crap that sounds a lot like what Christ did every day. Chris eventually came to realize this truth. Unfortunately, it was too late to avoid his tragic fate. However, he may have lived more in his two-ish years on the road than I have in my entire life up to this point.

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