An Analysis of the Factors That Make Chris McCandless Truly Human
What does it mean to truly be human? Be careful, as the answer to this question may not be as simple as one would think. Millions of years ago, when humans first evolved from our most recent ancestors, they had base traits that set them apart from other species. The combination of these traits allowed humans to diverge and become the dominant species on this planet. However, humans have evolved so far both culturally and technologically that everybody has become very different from each other, both culturally and behaviorally.
Despite our extremely complex advances through evolution, the real factors that make us human emerged all the way back in history, in the times where the natural world was reality. There was no civilization at this time, nor was there any culture. There was only the wild. The humans that existed back then functioned off of only their basic human needs: survival and self-actualization. The survival aspect is easy to understand, as all living beings exhibit this characteristic. However, through the power of consciousness there exists an everlasting human need of self-actualization, seeking personal growth and peace of mind. Chris McCandless exemplified these values of being human, as he renounced the fabrications of modern civilization and returned right back to his true, natural roots. He trekked into the wild, fighting to survive, competing against nature itself with no giant cinderblock buildings to keep warmth and comfort. Through his extremely unique personality, Chris McCandless demonstrated the most fascinating case for being a human through his own mind.
The personality of Chris McCandless is one that is combines stubbornness with heavy idealism, an extremely rare combination of traits for a boy raised in such a society like middle-class America. McCandless possessed such a nature that he truly believed he had to test and challenge himself every step on the way in the wild. Despite being fully aware of the risks, he went in with minimal supplies and a stubborn mindset. However, it must be remembered that it was important for McCandless to be truly alone, without human recourses or civilization. This journey was about providing a genuine test of his independence and his personal growth.
McCandless’ mindset was reflective of his ultimate goal of self-actualization; he held values such as simplicity, truth, and appreciation in extremely high regard. He valued these characteristics much more than manufactured things such as how much money had, or what car he drove. Never were such things important to him, as they didn’t fit with his character. Through his idealism, self-determination, and true self-sufficiency, McCandless created a new life for himself. He did in fact leave his life back in society, but this was the only life that McCandless cared about, a life filled with meaning, purpose, and simplicity. Such values resemble extremely meaningful and introspective qualities, and Jon Krakauer did a phenomenal job of relaying the true personality of Chris McCandless to the rest of the world.