Detouring “Into the Wild”

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SPOILER ALERT
This publication contains details about the film “Into The Wild”
[You’ve been warned]

On a cold night, in a foreign country where I’d been living for 16 months, among beers, nachos and work colleagues, my best and only friend, suggested that I had to watch that “Into The Wild” film. The Sean Penn direction thing and the Eddie Vader music just added to the sales pitch.

“The hell with it! if I ain’t finding meaning right now, I can always use *my* time in productive ways… ways productive to me.” and so, my existencial crisis sent me to watch the film during working hours.

 …

CHAPTER I
EARLY AGES

“My way or the highway,” that’s why I went away.

It must have broken my parents hearts to see me leave but I think parenthood includes this kind of growth anyway. My passport? A job offer. It is not my intention to make a biographical story here but a parallel version of events related to the film.

Back to the film, Alaska seemed way too unrealistic… you don’t need to go that far away to start these kind of “journeys”. I moved to another country (less than 200 miles away from where I call “home”) to start this kind of experience because I thought I had a concept about “going away”. I thought it was about detachment, about independence, about needing nothing but oneself; that the world would provide and that *feeling alone* (not *being alone* since I know one can’t truly be alone) was the ultimate satisfaction: a human being connected to oneself, surrounded by oneself, living for oneself… and even though it was satisfying, the other me, a honest, touchy, warm-hearted one decided it wasn’t enough… that my idea of being away was bullshit.

I honestly believe that the worst thing that can happen to you is to get what you want… and I did get what I wanted. I was away. I was alone. I was free. In fact, I was way too free to truly share with anyone and too alone to truly enjoy things. I separated from the world that much that I even disappeared from myself. This “journey” of mine left me directionless. Isolated.

Disagree with me but I don’t think the film shows a surprising story, the only surprising thing about it is that it’s based on a real life event. I really disliked the highly idealised/clichéd “wanderer” profile. I find the story development way too linear (you can identify how it’ll end), the character arch too obvious (that moment of insight when it’s too late), and the plot points are too scheduled, too trimmed to fit… however, it works. I don’t think the real message has anything to do with the anti-system statements but the one about happiness, that it is only real when shared. If anything, I really liked that insight especially because I’d arrived to that very same conclusion just weeks before watching the film.

Happiness

 …

CHAPTER II
MIDDLE AGES

Since I’m 22, I wanted to become a writer. I thought the way to becoming one was writing, living, writing some more, getting drunk, living some more, writing again… and repeat. I also befriended a guy so he could share writing advice. Two things he shared “Write theatre” and  “Find the right words. That’s the writer’s job.” 

This same friend also told me that I had to learn to name things by their name,especially feelings… Months later, there I am watching this film, finding that Supertramp has to learn this as well… “Nigga please! Is this the story of my life?”

The film is beautifully crafted with great photography, decent casting and stunning scenery… soundtrack functions as a plot device vital for story development… but what truly struck me was not the story, aesthetics or technicalities but the “INANITION” thing. It didn’t hit me right away, but when it did, it’d hit me down my belly.

It must be a terrible thing to die of starvation. After learning to “name things by their name”, the character makes a terrible mistake. A mistake with no return…. Goosebumps in my skin. My stomach froze the way it does when anxiety plays in and even though I already knew how the film ended, I kept on watching. If I’d already projected myself into the film, I had to finish it… and as the Supertramp learned during the film, so I learned that my journey was over too.

“Home is where the heart is” I remembered, so my next illogical step was to return. Return to the people I call home.

 …

Deserve Love

 …

CHAPTER III
MODERN AGES 

Months before watching the film, I’d dream of my best friend. A full-of-symbols kind of dream. I shared my dream with her and she said that it meant that I had to learn to accept the love that was given to me… that if anything, that was the real reason why I went away. Touché. The difference between Supertramp and me was that he already knew why he went away. I didn’t.

With a hurt ego I finally accepted I’d been wrong for a long time, that this idea of mine about “loving and leaving” was a mistaken one. That was it. Game over. Full circle. The difference between Supertramp and me was that I could return, so, without remorse or doubts, without judgment or analysis, I returned.

 …

A bus ticket, two suitcases and a five hours road trip sends me home.

Being at home, I started to look inwards and take better care of myself… I even went to the doctor and get blood tests and stuff like that… the results showed that I’m losing some “Ketone bodies”, the ones that regulates energy and metabolic functions. Probable causes: prolonged fasting, lack of proper food or nourishment, INANITION… infections, metabolic problems, diabetes… Doctors have a special way of telling simple things in complicated manners.

inanition |ˌinəˈniSHən|
noun
lack of mental or spiritual vigor and enthusiasm: she was thinking that old age bred inanition.
• exhaustion caused by lack of nourishment.

ORIGIN late Middle English: from late Latin inanitio(n-), from Latin inanire ‘make empty,’ from inanis ‘empty, vain.’

This is when the film truly hits me… that INANITION word that was lingering around somewhere in my head. I’m not worried about health complications since I know that the fasting, the starvation, the nourishing I lacked was that of sharing, of accepting the love, the vastness of company, the richness of the good, the bad and the ugly.

EPILOGUE

The one who recommended the film, the one who taught me to find the right words, the one who spoke the truth about my heart… they are always right. I’m always amazed how my friends know what I need beforehand.

.

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10 things to learn from Walter White. (3x BONUS LESSONS)

When I was in high school I had to make a choice: university degree. When I was 8 years old, I wanted to study Marine Biology. I’d seen some Jaques Cousteau T.V. program and all I wanted was to swim with the dolphins. Later, when I was 12, I wanted to be a lawyer. Then, by 15 I wanted to be a graphic designer. By 18, I wanted to study Chemistry. I turned the sciences down and pursued the graphic design thing. I regret it.

I’ve been on a wild binge of Breaking Bad. Yeah.. yeah… I know a “little” late, but “Fall never comes late” said some Chinese wise man (or something like that).

I learned nothing about chemistry, but here I want to share my top 10 lessons I’ve learned from Walter White:


01

Lesson #1. Clean after your mess. Be responsible. What’s done it’s done and you can’t take it back. You shit it, you clean it. No matter what you’re doing, cooking breakfast, vomiting on the sink, going on a killing spree or throwing pizza to the roof of your house… always, always clean your mess.

02

Lesson #2. Keep where you eat clean. OK. this is not something Walter White said explicitly… however it makes sense that no matter what happens, make sure it never hits you at home. Keep your shit away… really far away. Find your RV, your desert, your Jesse, your Mike, your Skyler, your Saul… whatever that serves as your junkyard. Word of advice: try not to shit on people, but if you have to do it to keep yourself clean, you do what you gotta do.

03

Lesson #3. Equal share. No matter what the deal is, what the partners are, what the job is… always go equal share over responsibilities, winnings or losses, even liabilities. Never settle for less that your partners.

04

Lesson #4. Underdogs bite harder. Chemistry teacher, cancer diagnosed… blah, blah, blah… The underdog cover is always the best one. Bark too much, you don’t bite. It’s better not to have any front, than to have every front to lose, like the in-law Hank.

05

Lesson #5. Think in sequences. Steps matter. When you lack clarity or you don’t know what’s next, sit down and always, always enunciate what your steps are going to be in order to achieve what you want. Step after step, walk ahead… way ahead ’til you’re so far away that they’ll never see you coming.

06

Lesson #6. Logistics matters. This goes hand in hand with Lesson #5 and it’s part of the planning process. What are the costs and the required resources needed to accomplish your goals? You take care of the little details nobody cares to see and you’ll never have to worry about things falling apart.

07

Lesson #7. Smart up. Christ! Take advantage of your Homo Sapiens condition. Use your brains. If science, technology or any other modern world artifact can help you out, use it. Do it. Humanity has advanced this far for us to be smart enough and not over-complicate things.

08

Lesson #8. Leave work at work. Besides the fact that Walter couldn’t build a lab at home, it’s clear that work is work and it should be kept far away from home. Work your hours, make them profitable and never, ever bring work at home.

09

Lesson #9. Never take “No” for an answer. When things are muddled, tangled or whatever and the only thing to do is to give up, the only reasonable, logical thing to do is to “Never give control up”. Things only stop until you say so… everything is negotiable, well, everything except love.

10

Lesson #10. It’s OK to be the bad guy. Hey, I’m not saying it’s OK to go wild on a passive-agressive killing spree or the way Walt did. Beyond the drug lords and the world Vincent Gillian depicted, Breaking Bad is about breaking social conventions, it’s about breaking from being “politically correct”. it’s about not taking shit from people, like ever.

** EDIT **

BONUS LESSON #1. Think Gigantic. Where Jesse saw teenths, Mr. White saw pounds. Where Heisenberg saw thousands, Fring saw millions. Where Jesse saw a business, Walt saw an empire. Where Skyler saw danger, Walter White was the danger. Think, and when you do, think big, think gigantic. Do more with the less effort you can. Never settle for less. Go for the unmeasurable.

BONUS LESSON #2 Never compromise Quality. No matter what you do, from single day daily tasks, to mass-production of everyday products, to cooking illicit drugs… Quality is what defines what you’re gonna be worth. Lasseter from Pixar knows this too.

BONUS LESSON #3 Demand information. Somehow Walter always knew what was happening. He went too far because he had information at hand. He asked his in-law, he asked Jesse, he demanded to talk to Gustave Fring… he always demanded information. Make sure you have sources to gather reliable information and craft the best strategies.

There, in a nutshell. What I learned. Of course there are more things to write down, but I think this is something I can really pull from the show and apply in daily life. 99.1% purity?