Comment on this quote about a life of security and a passion for adventure from Into the Wild."So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change...

Comment on this quote about a life of security and a passion for adventure from Into the Wild.

"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" (57).

This is not an essay topic by the way, although it is a very long quote. One paragraph explanation please, if possible. Thanks.

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In this quote, Chris McCandless is making two observations.  First, he is asserting that the goals society upholds as the keys to success and happiness - "a life of security, conformity, and conservatism" - are ultimately unfulfilling.  Secondly, he is saying that people who have a lot to lose in a traditionally accepted sense are much less likely to take risks and be adventurous, and because of this they are missing out on something that is basic to their fulfillment.  For example, someone who has a stable home, access to a good education, and the opportunity to get into a rewarding career is not as inclined to put it all on the line to do something like McCandless did in challenging the wilderness, than someone who has none of those things - the first man has too much to lose.  McCandless lived his life according to the advice he gave in this quote, remaining true to "the very basic core of (his) living spirit".  He could have enjoyed all the things which society holds up as the basis of happiness, but he risked it all to answer a call deep within his spirit, the longing for adventure.  Even though things did not work out the way he planned, and in taking the gamble he forfeited his life, losing everything, in looking at his life and examining his journals, I think it can be argued that  McCandless lived his life the way he wanted to, and in the final analysis, he might have said it was worth it.

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