Into the Wild

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In life, the feeling of happiness is something for which almost everybody strives. In the movie Into the Wild, Chris McCandless achieves this feeling of happiness by living his life according to transcendentalism philosophy. Chris goes in search of a new life, leaving his old one – one full of money, love, and other riches – behind. In his new life, Chris does not conform to society. Chris McCandless lives a transcendentalist life by abandoning his formerly privileged life and charting a new, non-conforming path. Chris’s experience proves the transcendentalism ideal that happiness can only be achieved by having self-knowledge. According to transcendentalism philosophy, happiness can only be achieved by having self-knowledge, which results from being honest with oneself. In “Walden,” Thoreau discusses the fact that people should make decisions that they are proud of and that a lack of self-knowledge leads to emptiness. “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. Truth creates work at which you would not be ashamed to invoke the Muse,” (309). Instead of affection, wealth, or notoriety, Thoreau wants reality. This reality leads to the creation of things that individuals can be proud of and want to show to God. Thoreau chooses honesty because honesty allows one to truly understand oneself and one’s surroundings. Materialistic items, such as money, do not lead to this understanding, but rather mask one’s true self. When an individual does not have self-awareness, external factors play a role in decision-making, which leads to disappointment and frustration. When one understands his true self, one is able to recognize one’s values and make choices that make one happy. Therefore, happiness can only be achieved by understanding oneself. By abandoning his privileged life, Chris McCandless proves the transcendentalism ideal that happiness can only be achieved by understanding oneself. As Caroline narrates the story and describes the strain that Chris’s...
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