Into the Spirit

Into The Wild

There is so much to behold in nature than what meets the naked eye. One fails to see the spiritual aspects of the dirt beneath one’s feet or the sky above. Sean Penn’s 2007 film Into the Wild tells the true story of a young man who sets out on the journey of discovering nature. This film shows the beauties and wonders in a spiritual nature which seems to be masked by today’s society.

Chris McCandless, a recent college grad, has his whole life planned out for him: wanting to continue education at Harvard, having over $24,000 in savings, and even the chance to receive a new car from his parents. However, this mundane, materialistic life forces the adventurous Christ to leave everything behind in pursuit of a life in the natural environment of Alaska. Along the way, he meets and works for many people who not only influence his travels, but also his “new life” story. In this new life, Chris must learn to adapt to living in nature by collecting his own food and surviving harsh weathers and conditions. Gaining new friendships, love, and wisdom along the way, Chris’ death is not in vain. He realizes in the end that his journey’s purpose was to take him away from the world he knew into the world that he was meant to live in.

Most of Into the Wild takes places in the setting of a variety of places outdoors: Colorado Rivers, South Dakota farms, and even the borders of Mexico. Chris, who is the protagonist of the story, leaves his life at home to trek to these natural spots to live and survive on the resources around him. What becomes apparent towards the end of the film with the encounter with Ron is that the wisdom gained from his journeys allows Chris to see the natural world for what it really is: spiritually created by God. While looking down on the world with Ron, Chris tells the man that “God’s place is all around us, it is in everything and in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at things”. And boy, did Chris change his perspective of the world. Throughout the movie to this point, Chris learned to live in a world with nothing but the clothes on his back and the money he gained from various jobs. His friendships and guidance along his journey allowed him to see the beauty of the spirit within people, and by living in nature he was able to see the spirit all around him. At his dying moment, he thought of what it would be like to return to his family. However, he wouldn’t have gotten the chance to die a happy death in which he became one with the spirituality of nature.

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