Christopher McCandless' Pilgrimage

Old Jan 5th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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artman,

Pretty amazing that you can criticize my experience/characterizations of the Alaska wilderness and the Appalachian trails ... and then when I ask about your background/experience you won't answer.

That's intellectual cowardice.

And then you resort to semantic games. Do you really mean you can't image a parent checking to make sure a kid know what he's doing before he heads off on a trek like CM?

OK, I'll rephrase the dialog, which I'd condensed because I thought reasonable people might get the concept. I'll try again and I'll make it simpler.

Your son/daughter calls and during the conversation tells you that he/she is heading into the Alaska wilderness with 10 pounds of rice, no compass, a very small gun and plans to be there a while.

What do you say?

"We support you. Are you prepared? Follow your dream."



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Old Jan 5th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Repete,

You just don't get it do you?

What my experience in nature has been or what your experience has been doesn't really matter. I'm sure people have been killed out in nature with less experience than what I have and more experience than what you have. I'm not being critical of your experience. Sounds like experiences I wish I could have. I was just being critical of you saying that the AT was a "walk in the park". You know better than that, or should anyway.

Your question is still silly. What son or daughter would phrase a question like that? What would be the purpose of a question like that. To say those words would be cruel.

CM didn't have a close relationship with his parents. It seems he even hated his dad. He wasn't even cruel enough to call and say those things you are asking me to reply to. I'm not sure what you are trying to get at by insisting on asking this question. Whats your point? Cm was a adult not a kid.
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Old Jan 5th, 2008, 02:36 PM
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Artman,

This is going nowhere. Again you play with my quote, I used "walk in the park" as part of a comparison with Alaskan treks. As a stand-alone remark -- as you've twice used it -- the quote is skewed.

More intellectual dishonesty.

If you pretend to have the knowledge to criticize my comment on the AT, the question of your experience is absolutely fair. Why do you just admit it:
You have never hiked in wilderness Alaska or on the AT.

C'mon it won't hurt.

But twisting words and dodging questions seem to be the only clubs left in your bag.

Let me make this even simpler. If you knew a son or daughter was entering the Alaska wild as physically (ill) equipped as he was ... would you intervene?

Simple as that.

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Old Jan 5th, 2008, 08:28 PM
  #64  
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I've found this thread a very interesting read. I haven't felt compelled to post a reply until now.

In response to Let me make this even simpler. If you knew a son or daughter was entering the Alaska wild as physically (ill) equipped as he was ... would you intervene?, exactly what would you do if your son or daughter were an adult? In fact, what right would you have to do anything? Certainly not a legal right. So at best, you'd continue to give the advice you hopefully had always given ("Be Prepared. Don't take foolish risks. Etc.") But beyond that, what kind of "intervention" are you referring to? (Yes, I have children, ages 20 and 23)
 
Old Jan 6th, 2008, 04:53 AM
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repete,
yes I think this thread is done because your just getting snotty. You seem to have taken some offense to your achievements in the wild. None was given and none was meant on my part. Now you just want to make this into a personal spitting match.
And so now you claims that I'm being somehow "intellectually dishonest"?
Why, because I got you to admit(barely) that you saying CM was mentally ill was uncalled for on your part? That you finally realize that your opinion of the story and the park rangers opinion of the story are just that..your opinions...no more reliable than the books?

So to answer your question which thankfully was finally pared down to something realistic, the answer would be no. The son or daughter is an adult. what are you going to do. Lock them up?
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 05:42 AM
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I'll have to get the book from the library. The copy our son gave us seems to be lost (we moved this year). Our 28 yo son's response to CM's story was "he had no business being there". Our son did an 8 month adventure but it was in the company of friends, involved some danger but not the amount of risk CM took. One of his safety rules is keeping your feet dry. Hypothermia can occur in mild weather when people don't prepare for changes in the weather.
It will be very sad if someone tries to make a similar trek and also fails because they were poorly prepared. Artman, have you thought of what CM could have written, could have experienced if he had been successful? Perhaps he would have shared a new philosophy with others and written a book, not left it for someone else to tell his story.
The desire to be free and true? It still carries a responsibility to be safe, to respect others and the world around you. The hard part is figuring out who is worthy of respect and what isn't; to understand which rules are necessary and which probably should be changed. There are probably hundreds of stories similar to CM's that won't get written about because they did not have a tragic ending. And perhaps the tragedy is most wrong because it will scare some people off from an adventure they were considering that could have been possible but now they have second thoughts. What do you think people are really learning from his story?
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 06:35 AM
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dmlove,

I left it broad via "intervene" just to give plenty of latitude for a response. I know CM did not have that kind of relationship with his parents, but I was asking artman what he'd do. Now I see I've left it too vague.

If you're asking what I'd do, I'd attempt to have a much more prolonged discussion. I discuss the risks and the reasons behind them. I'd try to get a sense for his state of mind. I'd ask the very obvious questions.

If I were convinced there were unreasonable risks that could very likely prove fatal, I'd at least attempt to meet face to face.

This is a very slippery, sliding hypothetical slope. Take CM out of the picture and is there a point where you would physically intervene with a loved one taking unnecessary and likely fatal risks?

artman,

I listed some of my experiences in one post only because you speculated about them.

Here is my thought on your view. Its just s guess but I think its could be rather correct. People who don't care about this story just say" Stupid kid". They just as soon be playing Nintendo.

And, I'll say it again, if you criticize my experiences in Alaska and on the AT yet refuse to admit whether you have any experience there is a textbook example of intellectual fraud.

You say I'm not the least bit interested in what CM did before Alaska. Why I'd post this then:

"I think much of his earlier life was tremendous and wonder where his path might have led."

It's particularly telling that you bash Medred and the park ranger for taking the quote "out of context."

They have far more context than you of what his words and actions meant in that environment.

The myth of Alaska and the myth of benign nature are getting in the way here. This isn't the woods behind the school. There's no section of the AT as life-threatening for the ill-prepared. Medred, the ranger and others with first-hand experiences in the wilderness knew how misguided CM's search was.

Artman makes the case that those who see the mental journey rather than being focused on the physical.

But unnecessary risks led to a tragic end of both the mind and the body. Keep the body alive and let the mind and soul wander.

Would doing a some decent research to sustain "the physical" spoil the mental journey? Would a compass or map?
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 06:35 AM
  #68  
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I'm sure thankful I'm not the misguided ill prepared kid of artman's.
 
Old Jan 6th, 2008, 07:17 AM
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dfnh,
All good questions . Here is a link to one of the more balance views of the CM story.

http://www.mensjournal.com/feature/M...cCandless.html

I think it acknowledges people like Repetes point of view and gives Krakauer and Penn a chance to voice their view on what happened. Its a good article that points out the two basic camps on the subject.
The questions you ask focus on the tragedy of his death as a waste full one. I guess all deaths at an early age could be considered that way. But death will strike all of us and what is most interesting in CM case is what he did with his life before he died. This is something that those like Repete don't seem the least bit interested in. They just see a young kid making a foolish mistake. They even won't acknowledge what he did accomplish in that bush. As Sean Penn says in the article he was in the bush for 113 days,79 by choice. He survived 79 days on a 10 pound bag of rice and a rifle. Thats well over twice the length that people participating in the Survivor TV program have to endure. The fact of the matter is that CM was not stupid, he was not mentally ill. In fact just the opposite. He was a young man, educated searching for a truth in life. His family upbringing I feel instilled in him a down right hatred for things false, for impure intentions. He sought interactions and actions devoid of pretense. He sought the teachings of literaries that went before him. Now the two camps of debate on the CM story can be divided into those who can understand that yearning. And those that have no idea what I'm talking about. Take away the search for truth. The need to want to live a life full experience and to some it just looks like a stupid act of ill preparedness. I find this posting thread fascinating in the fact that we live in a country where people spend countless hours of their lives doing completely wastefull things. We eat like crap, we waste gas driving to the mall, we don't read, we want to go to theme parks and be guide down rivers and treks. We want to see the sights but aren't willing to do the work to see them. And here we have this young man who did so much on his own. Who read, traveled, worked, befriended, long for more, worked at striving for more in his life and the only thing people like Repete can say is that he was mentally ill and he had no business being where he was. Now who can stand there and make that kind of judgement? If I was a relative of CM I would be proud of his attempt to achieve a better life. Its far far more than most of us will ever achieve.
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 07:46 AM
  #70  
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You realize your passion to memorialize this young man has left you incapable of speaking in paragraphs.

Thanks for the link. I will read it as always with an open mind.

 
Old Jan 6th, 2008, 08:01 AM
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Decent article. Those familiar with journalism will recalled the term "nut graph" -- the bottom line. Here it is from the Men's Journal:

"If the cult that has grown up around McCandless is any indication, we want the romantic portrait to be true: that he made a series of small mistakes that compounded in disaster. But the truth doesn't always conform to Hollywood's ideals."
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 09:21 AM
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Very very very funny and appropriate Rich.

Guilty of adding to the beating

 
Old Jan 6th, 2008, 11:01 AM
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Repete,
I'd said it before and I'll say it again. People die ever day outside, in the wilderness, swimming, even golfing,doing far more precarious things than CM did. Your still to hung up on the physical.
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Old Mar 19th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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Interesting thread.

I thought CM (as portrayed in Krakauer's book)seemed pretty juvenile. Artman's right, I don't understand CM's quest for truth.

It seems like a quest for truth is something you get to indulge because the other things in your life have been taken care of for you. It makes me wonder how many kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds ever go on a quest like this.

I think Artman stated that working in McDonald's is sad, but I find it a lot more heroic for a kid to stick out a crappy job to help support himself or herself than to take off into the desert or into Alaska on a personal quest for truth. Working at McDonald's seems less juvenile and self-indulgent to me than CM.

But I'm a liberal, pragmatic that grew up in lower middle class blue collar home. I don't play Nintendo. I do rock climb, mountain climb, backpack, and I've rafted the entire stretch of the Salmon River without the benefit of guide.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 07:50 AM
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good points, Kureiff. CM may have disappeared from his family but the safety net was still there. I simply cannot see how he expected to discover much on a solitary journey and think it is too bad he ignored the opportunities to learn from other people he could have met in Alaska. AK-Gal also makes a good point that people making risky ventures into the wild cost other people a lot. This also happens here in NH where rescue parties take a lot of risks to help people who hiked too far in bad weather. Recently a helicopter pilot said he had never flown in such bad weather and all was for naught since one hiker was already dead and the other soon succumbed at the hospital. My son used to do some volunteer recovery work when he belonged to a club that enjoyed the wilderness. There's a big difference between going out prepared yet still getting into a jam needing help and going out poorly equipped and taking far too many risks.
The physical is an important part. When someone realizes what they can accomplish it helps fuel their energy and widens their view to go on to further, bigger challenges. How can one learn much while they have to spend time trying to keep from starving?
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