Christopher Mccandless: a Transcendental Philosopher

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Jacob Walton

A Transcendental Philosopher: Christopher McCandless The novel Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, is a story about a transcendental philosopher by the name of Christopher Johnson McCandless. The story follows the journey of McCandless across America; relying only on what he can carry on his back. McCandless shows self-reliance, a love of nature, and has withdrawn from society in many ways throughout the book. A very important characteristic of any transcendentalist is self-reliance. In the excerpt from “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell on the second mind, Gladwell describes how, “We have experiences. We think them through. We develop a theory, and then finally we put two and two together” (Gladwell 1). Humans are fully capable of thinking things through themselves and acting on it, which is what McCandless did numerous times in Into the Wild. One example is when Chris, (Alex at the time), was offered gear by Jim Gallien before his journey into the Alaskan Wild (Krakauer 6). McCandless thought about it and decided he wanted to do everything himself so he turned down the offer (Krakauer 6). At this point, McCandless could have accepted the charity of someone else and made his adventure much easier but instead decided to rely only on himself, a true transcendental philosopher. A philosopher is “a person who regulates his or her life, actions, judgments, utterances, etc., by the light of philosophy or reason” (“philosopher”). If he were to accept the offer, burning his cash, donating all of his college funds to charity, and ditching his old Datsun in the desert, all examples of self-reliance, would have meant nothing if McCandless is considered to be a transcendental philosopher. Many transcendentalists believe strongly in the pure joy that comes from nature and love being close to nature for that reason. They believe that nature provides serenity and a place to

think that is hard to find in the presence of the distractions caused by society. Eddie Vedder...
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