“The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated.” Henry David Thoreau writes this in Walden to express how society is losing its views on the importance of nature and concentrating more on the material things. Ralph Waldo Emerson talks about the same values in Self-Reliance. Driven by these thoughts, a young man of the name Chris McCandless chooses to go out into the wilderness of Alaska, only to die after months of surviving. This story is vividly told in the book Into the Wild by author Jon Krakauer. In these three pieces, we see how the standards of life are to live deliberately. Passively, away from society, in order to find one’s true self. I hate to disagree, but from my perspective to live deliberately is to live with no worries and in constant calm. To live deliberately is to not be in constant state of starvation. To live deliberately is to be able to take a bath every night. To live deliberately is to live in happiness by doing good to others, and having loved ones by your side to share your happiness with.
In an excerpt from Walden, Thoreau explains the beauty of nature and how “all nature is your congratulation.” This passage explains how in order to live deliberately you must find your inner peace out in nature. I don’t think this is true since nature is not the only way to find peace. Peace can be found in other ways that don’t include separating from your parents, leaving your friends, burning everything you have and have worked hard for. I think peace is accomplished by doing what you like and being the best person you can be. To be at peace with the world is to be able to smile every day, to help someone out, to not resent others for what they have. To be at peace with yourself is to do things with a purpose, not for a purpose.
The same ideas as in Walden are shared in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance. The idea that being away from society is the ultimate way to find yourself and peace, is highly viewed. “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” This quote shows how his ultimate idea is that society doesn’t matter. The goal in life is to find your peace and for that, you don’t need other people. Is all you.
These ideas drive Chris McCandless to set out into the Alaska wild to find his purpose in life. We see he fails since even though he claims at the end of his days that he has had a happy life, what is the purpose of finding your purpose if you then have no one to share your achievements with? What is the purpose of touching and inspiring people to then stop communicating with them; only to let them find via the press that you have died in an undertaking they warned you of? What is the purpose of letting those people suffer?
McCandless sets out by himself leaving everything and everyone behind. Just as an act of suicide, it is selfish to leave all those people who loved and respected him, only to pursue his own greater good.
In Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak also has to live in nature away from all people, but his reasons are very different. This piece talks about war and how it takes away everything someone has and knows. Someone is not freely going out into having nothing. During war period that someone is forced. Forced to leave their family. Forced to leave their possessions. Forced to abandon and forget everything they have known. Living deliberately to that someone is to go back to the times before. The times when they had family, friends, food, water, books, something.
We all have our different views on what living deliberately means, and we all go out and try to seek that greater experience. Perhaps we are lucky and we find it in our lifetime. Perhaps we try but never succeed. No matter what the case is we are all different and we all have our own ways of finding peace in this world.