hungry hearted

serving up a healthy portion of pop culture commentary, random infatuations, and introspective ramblings

review, reaction, compulsion, whatever.

I went to see Sean Penn's cinematic interpretation of ‘Into the Wild’ tonight. The movie was a beautiful and evocative tragedy. I related to the boy’s explorative desires and rejection to follow the path his family expected of him as one suitable for himself. I believe in the necessity of adventure to gain the humbling and enlightening lessons that come from the experience of falling on your ass and building yourself back up. It was heartbreaking to watch the story of a boy so jaded and disturbed strive towards such extreme self-discipline and isolation.

Nevertheless, the movie was inspirational. It reminded me of my college studies in environmental literature, days spent at waterfalls in western Massachusetts and the first time I read excerpts from Henry Beston’s The Outermost House:

“Today’s civilization is full of people who have not the slightest notion of the character or the poetry of night, who have never even seen night. Yet to live thus, to know only artificial night, is as absurd and evil as to know only artificial day.
…Learn to reverence night and to put away the vulgar fear of it, for, with the banishment of night from the experience of man, there vanishes as well a religious emotion, a poetic mood, which gives depth to the adventure of humanity.
…Whatever attitude to human existence you fashion for yourself, know that it is valid only if it be the shadow of an attitude to Nature. A human life, so often likened to a spectacle upon a stage, is more justly a ritual. The ancient values of dignity, beauty, and poetry which sustain it are of Nature’s inspiration.”

I agree that a man’s relationship with nature reflects infinite layers of his personality and moral substance. Stripped of materialistic comforts and societal routines we can test our true strengths and become something we never saw within us. Industrialization has restructured the Earth for understandable reasons, and with age we too often stop entertaining ourselves by venturing outdoors. We go to school, work, gyms, coffee shops, and boutiques and think ourselves civilized. We dress ourselves up in designer apparel to show our accomplishments.

Environmental awareness seems to be in season, which is a good thing albeit trendy. In this age of technology our social consciences tends to focus towards materialistic goals and monetary values, which fogs our appreciation of nature. This scene in ‘I Heart Huckabees’ brilliantly articulates a sickeningly familiar clash of values in modern society: