Advice from the Young and Dead

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. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.

Jon Krakauer | Into the Wild (p. 58)

It’s worth noting, before getting too carried away with what a glorious quote this is, that it’s not actually Jon Krakauer speaking, but Christopher McCandless.  The same Christopher McCandless who chose the name Alexander Supertramp, and, depending on who you ask, either arrogantly set out into a harsh Alaskan wilderness inexperienced and unprepared, or courageously threw off the shackles of modern society for a grand, romantic adventure to find something deeper and more fulfilling than the life of security, conformity, and conservatism he railed against.

Further clouding the value of this quote – he was 24 at the time he wrote it.  How much deep, life changing advice are you willing to take from your closest 24 year old?

Finally, he died for it.  The sentiment in this quote literally lead to his demise.

So on it’s face, there’s a lot going against it.  And in spite of all that, I’ll be honest:  I don’t care.  If I knew a 24 year old who called himself “Alexander Supertramp”, hitchhiked around the country taking odd jobs and convincing anyone he talked to that modern life was of questionable value before taking off with meager supplies and questionable training to survive an Alaskan winter (we’ll ignore the bit where he dies, because lets be real: poisoned by wild potato seeds?  That’s just a bad draw.), I’d listen to anything he wanted to talk about.

None of my ramblings thus far have even addressed the content of the quote.  There’s a lot going on here, and I’ve now tired myself out just discussing the context for it.  So I’ll just let it soak.  Drink it in.

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