Was Christopher McCandless from Into The Wild an idiot? (and what’s Natasha from Tolstoy’s War & Peace’s got to do with it)

Christopher mcCandless had it all. Young, bright, a college graduate. A promising future. A secure family life. All before him, just as he was about to start his career.

So, ‘all’ in one sense of the word.

But all that ‘all’ didn’t interest him at all. He got rid of all that, and all his possessions –apart from the ‘necessary comforts’– so he could do what he truly wanted: to go on a great Alaskan Adventure. It was the life he wanted.

And okay, after he went on the adventure and had the experiences he most wanted, he made an error in confusing an edible plant with a poisonous one, which proved his undoing.

But we all die. And in a lot of ways, even in relationships, with people surrounding us, we are still alone. It’s just that McCandless lived for 24 years, and despite living the life he wanted, he made an error.

But we also all make errors. It’s just that he made his error while living the one true life he truly wanted. The life of connection that others couldn’t understand, but for him, made complete sense (even if it didn’t meet the standard mathematical expected duration of a regular American male).

And what’s Natasha from Tolstoy’s War & Peace got to do with it?

Natasha also has it all, a promising future with a mega wealthy suitor Andrei, which would ensure her a life of comfort that most can only dream of. But it wasn’t enough for her, and it wasn’t her. When she meets Anatol, she finds that is who she loves, a life in a way that she feels when she pursues a life she wants, is the one she takes a risk to follow. But she is criticised, and her family stops her. We don’t know what is best for Natasha. Natasha, and only Natasha, knows what makes her feel alive. And we must not judge from the outside, but accept that nobody know the life that makes them feel alive, except for the people who are living it (from the inside).