Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Here you can discuss anything related to Christopher McCandless.
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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby 1957Hedgehog » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:36 pm

Aren’t we ALL heroes AND fools?

We all run away from something in search of answers. We run physically or mentally. Chris did both.

We also run TO something in search of answers. We run TO something physically or mentally. Again, Chris did both.

In fact, Chris appears to be running both from something and to something, both physically and mentally.

I find is fascinating and puzzling someone somewhere else on this forum quoted Neitsche as suggesting a walk through an asylum proves God doesn’t exist. How can anyone prove anything by looking at something from the outside? How does walking past a lunatic in an asylum show me anything about this person on the inside?

Likewise with Chris. How can we definitively decide Chris is a hero or a fool by looking at what he did on the outside? Although we have books, documentaries, movies, and plenty of supposition, and not to discount all that’s been shared about this young man, no one will ever know his true motivation for what he did…

…even if he were still alive to tell us personally why he did what he did. He probably didn’t even REALLY know…

In my opinion, Chris replaced a quest with an objective. Like so many of us, he looked to the world and nature to [blank] (you can fill in the blank in your lives).

I like the analogy of Chris attempting his objective of getting someplace not on a map. Only every place on earth is now on a map. So the only logical thing to do to reach that objective is…throw away the map. Some call him foolish for doing that…

I call it brilliant! And add to it he did what he did without a compass too! Brilliant!

Why? Because as humans, we are all searching for a place. And what we’re searching for can’t be found on a map or with a compass, at least not an earthly one. I think Chris knew this. And I think people view him as a hero because he disposed of all the earthly searching tools in his quest to find peace. True peace. Not earthly peace. And not an objective.

In the end, I think Chris got there. He found peace. And he communicated his peace in his two apparent final statements, “I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and may God bless all!“, and the deeply profound, “Happiness is only real when shared.”

In his running, Chris indeed found the answer…God is joy and full of blessings, and He asks us to share our happiness and love with one another. If we can look beyond the tragedy of Chris’ death, we can see he sprinkled lots of happiness along the way, and through his story continues to do so.

There’s nothing either heroic nor foolish in that quest. I wish you all peace.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby aresw11 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:24 am

He's a hero for me, as I'd like to have his courage..
he dies in a foolish way, because of his foolish preparation for what was his great adventure..
however, he's immortal now, and after we'll die, he'll still tell people to look at the right principles, rather than follow the flock of sheep, and behave like the rest..
he'll also tell them to find a different foolish way to end.. as a map and a compass are essential in the wild..

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby kyle101 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:04 pm

I dont think he was a fool or a hero cause all he did was want to get away from society and the life he had with his parents. but he was kind of foolish for just packing up and leaving without telling anyone but it was his own choice so i dont think he should become a hero for that i think he could have done it way different than he did if he didnt like his parents he could have just went on his onw cause he had an education and money to start his life. but i dont consider him a hero and he wasnt well prepared at all for the alaska wild if he had been more prepared he could have survived out there. i dontthink he new what he was getting into so i think he was alittle fooilsh for doing waht he did.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby morghanchiesa1 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:19 pm

i can't come to a solid decision. i think he was both a hero and a fool. i can't figure out if he was in the right state of mind when he made the decision to leave home, and leave all his family and friends, and possessions and live life in the wild and start his journey to alaska. he's a hero for having so much confidence in himself to live that way, and to travel so many places without having a care or worry in the world. but he's also a fool, i think he spends alot of this time, trying to distract himself from having thoughts of his family. and i feel like he just continues to travel because he doesn't think he can go back home and deal with all the emotions.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby ChinnyChin99 » Wed May 08, 2013 12:14 am

I find that Chris was a hero and a fool at the same time. Since he wanted to start a new life in Alaska, he burned and buried most of his belongings which many people think is a very stupid thing to do. He didn't really accepted most of the stuff that people he met wanted to give during his trip to Alaska. At the same time, he tried to make a new life by living the lives of people who existed in the past years where there's no electricity and they had to find their food themselves. When he got to Alaska, he starts his new life with traveling through the wild lands of Alaska where no one seems to come very often. He did find food, but what he gets can be his downfall as his moose got ravaged by maggots before he could even eat it. That's a sign of stupidity when he realizes smoking was ineffective. Then, he eats the potato seeds which he collected in the area, but he may have collected sweet pea seeds instead. This was another sign that he may have eaten the wrong seeds and started to cry when he realized he's going to die soon. Overall, I find he can be a fool, but he is a hero for attempting the impossible.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby ImACokeBoy » Sat May 11, 2013 2:38 am

I think that he is a fool. He left an upper middle class family with all the every day luxuries ( tv, running water, electricity, etc.) . Yes I know his parents did spend more time working than they did with the rest of the family, and yes Chris didn't like that, he thought that it was money that was making them greedy and caused them to work more. This doesn't mean that you go run off and try to start a new life living off the land, why would you want to give up a great life that you could still have had over a few arguments that had happened within your family. Any normal person would want to succeed, not start from nothing and think you will be fine.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby benjifrank » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:36 am

daniellebcan wrote:When you imagine yourself living out your dream, the thought sheds light on what you as a person are most passionate for. Passions in one’s life don’t necessarily always have to stay the same. Dreams are subject to change. However, the one consistency of these thoughts is that they solely belong to you, in your mind. Everyone else’s opinions don’t matter. Chris McCandless simply was living out his own ideal life. Chris wanted to escape being trapped in civilization while also attempting to discover his own self along the way. Chris McCandless is not by any means an idiot. He is a heretic, defying the lines of conformity and pushing the limitations of our society’s secure boundary.
Chris was trapped in a community that created an illusion of fake happiness, and he was merely looking to discover the truth. He was possessed a desperate, undeniable need for true meaning that only he could provide answers for. Krakauer includes in the book Into the Wild a letter written by Chris to Ron Franz, an excerpt states Chris’s opinion. “You are wrong if you think joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living” (57). Chris wanted to give up his life as a functioning citizen in his community. He wanted to be destitute and wild, that’s what made him the most happy. As humans we logically pursue the things in our lives that give us the most happiness as well. This is why Chris McCandless doesn’t deserve the title of an idiot or a moron. He is merely a heretic, a person who challenges the everyday norm. Many people can’t agree with his choice to live like a vagrant. But we don’t have to agree, we just have to understand. Chris did what made him happy and that is not a quality possessed by someone who is incompetent.
Traveling across the untamed places of our world gives him a high that feeds his desire for adventure. Chris writes in the same letter to Ron an inspirational message to urge Ron to give up his traditional lifestyle, but also sheds light on his decision to go into the wilderness himself.
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure” (Krakauer 57).
This passage is emblematic to the core of Chris’s life in the wild. He truly believes and lives by those words he wrote to on Franz. Chris strived to find his inner self and in doing so inspired many to follow their own dreams and for that he should be recognized. Chris McCandless was deeply compassionate, and a significant part of his travels comes from the injustice of society and how selfishly and greedily most Americans lived. Not only could he not identify with living a life like that, but he was the kind of person who was real. Living in a society like that was all just an imitation of real happiness. Chris wrote in a journal entry “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” (Krakauer 163). This passage shows how Chris feels right after he walks into the wild. He is proud of himself and clearly is happy. This was the beginning of his spiritual revolution. His words also explain how his great need for freedom and independence is rewarded only when he is tramping across America. Chris sought refuge in nature. The open road was his sanctuary, and true home. It was the place that his heart felt most at peace and that’s a feeling all humans deserve to experience.
Chris McCandless died a happy man. He had a happy life and although it was tragically cut short, he died fulfilling what made him the happiest. Some argue that Chris was suicidal and traveling to the Alaskan bush was a death wish. Some argue he was an ill-prepared young kid who was too naïve to survive. Some merely accuse him of the greatest incompetence and idiocy. I argue that he was happy. Chris did what made him feel the best about himself and his life and I think that alone is worth calling him a heretic. His nonconformist ways made people believe that he was stupid, but really he was just seeking out true meaning in his life. In fact, we should be nothing but proud of Chris McCandless for being one of the bravest people to walk the Earth. He was willing to sacrifice everything in search of his purpose here, and that, I truly believe are the qualities of a heretic.

Chris McCandless is, and always will, remain my hero.

Cool, sounds really interesting.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby lilypad » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:20 am

I think we all teeter on the brink of sanity and insanity. Some of us more than others and many times we get away with being considered sane when we dangle from the edge of the cliff of insanity.
I have two siblings who are hell bent on living their "religion" of being true to themselves and the world. They remind me of Chris. They are bright well educated and liked, however love is elusive and they have a hard time taking opportunities to get closure on a difficult childhood.
Parents always tell your kids you love them and want them no matter how difficult it is to accept your mistakes of how your kids got there. Don't criticize them for having the undesireable traits of the parents that are absent in their lives; that's your burden to forgive that parent for his/her shortcomings. Don't yell at them. Argue judiciously with your spouse and never bash your kid. Tell them you love them no matter what.
I believe Chris was a fragile young man. The emotional toll of his parents' nastiness was enough to poison him to look for love in the ironically unforgiving wildreness.
I think that Chris inherited some of insanity from his parents. I think he had a good heart and was a good person but was easily fooled by his dark side not to grasp love. I think the demons of his mind pushed his austerity. I don't think insanity is bad; quite the contrary; it is creative, stubborn, tenacious, intelligent, cunning and passionate. I just think that the deep scars in his heart were way too deep to heal. By finding "truth" he thought he could find a way to cleanse the darkness. he denied all the things that usually come with love. he denied himself his siblings. I can't help but think that he not been a college educated, white person that we would not be lauding him with all ths attention to him. We would not be aplauding his "courage" to explore the truth. I can't tell you how many insane people go off on these adventures and have some pretty amazing stories to tell yet they get no more than a nasty glance by us in the subway or where ever we see them in their dirty clothes.
I think if his family could squint and allow themselves to see this little bit of insanity, they might have a sigh of relief and closure to why this fragile young man in his journey of his impossible truth ended up hurting himself. He ran away from those who loved or wanted to love him. That's what madness makes you do. There is no shame in insanity; look how amazing this young man was. on the contrary, we should listen to them more often just like we have with Chris.
Thank you for your inspiring story Chris.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby dreamer » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:21 pm


Nowadays ( for a lot a people ), having a good life, a happy life, means having a good job, more than enough money,
often a husband or a wife, being a politicaly active person, respect every single rule
and for children: DO WHAT PEOPLE ( parents ) WANT YOU TO DO.

we always argue and moan, saying I want this, I want that, I haven't got the life I want,
BUT EH! the people saying all those things are stating: '' YOLO and Life's too short for... ''
Stop thinking and start acting !!! It's a lot more easy than moaning and being sad:

You don't like your life ? change it !
You have got some dreams ? Live them !
You hesitate ? Just do it !
and above all '' when you want to do something, you can do it ! and if it doesn't work ? Fight for it !''
Like Christopher McCandless says:
if you want something, grab it !

Maybe, I'm like that to, and I think that's the reasons why I admire Christopher McCandless and every thing he stands for so much.
He was, he is and will always be a hero for me, because he did what he wanted, what he needed, and he lived his
dreams, found freedom, independance and happiness...
So for all of this: THANK YOU !!!

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby shsgirl » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:30 pm

Chris wasn't necessarily one or the other but merely a little of both. He was an inspiration to others to leave the sick society we all know and travel the beautiful raw land. Yet he lacked common sense. He could have easily survived had he not been so stubborn and think of himself as greater than death itself.

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