All because I’ve just finished researching about a few depressing subjects.
WARNING! If you wish to continue on with your bright and chirpy day, I suggest that you go find another post to read. I for one, will go find something cheerful to do…
In 1993, 3 teenaged boys were convicted of raping, torturing and murdering 3 younger kids, sending them all to jail. In the recent years, however, new evidences and retracted statements have shown hints/glitches on how the case was initially handled. Resulting to calls for retrial by the defense, speculations of conspiracy by the public, stories of frame-ups and coercion by witnesses, suspicions aimed at specific individuals regarding their involvement on the crime, cries of innocence by the convicted and screams of “Free the WM3” by various pro-WM3 organizations.
I can’t really judge nor give conclusions based on the information I’ve gathered. But one thought lingers…
If the WM3 will be found innocent, will those responsible for the wrongful conviction be able to give them back the 15 youthful years they have lost?
Image courtesy of: www.wm3.org
Christopher McCandless’ Journey
While reading the book “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer, I referred to tribute sites, on-line documentaries and wiki entries to fully understand Christopher McCandless, a hiker deemed to be the icon for today’s generation, and his way of thinking. I wanted to find out: is he worth being called “an inspiration” by the free-spirited youth of today? Or was he really just a wayward soul whose thirst for adventure and irresponsible ways resulted to his tragic end?
Right after his college graduation in 1990, he donated all his money to charity and left his comfortable home to have an adventure in pursuit of happiness. During his quest, he met and befriended people he encountered in different towns whose deep concern for him failed to override his determination to experience joy on his own. Was he a future philosopher or a crazy idealist? I wouldn’t know. But those who got to speak with him were awed and inspired by his amazing anecdotes regarding his exploration towards self-fulfillment.
In 1992, with low food supply and inadequate equipment/tools (map, watch, compass – not even money), he hitchhiked his way to Fairbanks, Alaska, with the goal towards his ultimate dream – extreme joy and contentment away from a materialistic world, isolated from the rest of humanity. He called it his “Alaskan Odyssey”. In the wilderness, he sought refuge inside an abandoned bus and survived on what nature could offer him (wild animals and berries).
In the long run, he realized that happiness could not be found in a life of solitary confinement, so he decided to head towards civilization – only to turn back because the trail was blocked by the filled up river.
Four months after he hitchhiked to Fairbanks, his body was found in his sleeping bag inside the bus (it was concluded that he died due to starvation). His journal and some handwritten notes he posted on the bus gave the investigators a clear idea regarding his ordeal.
Personally, I found his story inspiring, not because of his intense fixation in finding his destiny, but because of the lesson he learned, albeit too late – that “Happiness (is) only real when shared” (one of the last journal entries he made).
“Into the Wild” was made into a feature film in 2007, directed by Sean Penn and starring Emile Hirsch.
(The fantastic OST, by the way, was done by Eddie Vedder)
The Lost Travelers
In the book, Jon Krakauer also mentioned a few travelers whose fates were similar to that of McCandless’:
EVERETT RUESS: An artist during the 1930s who was so in love with nature that he journeyed to the deepest part of the wilderness, knowing that this was where he would find peace. No one knows what happened to him, as if he just vanished into think air… but apparently, this was how he wanted things to be, as one of his writings said, "When I go, I leave no trace."
JOHN WATERMAN: A born daredevil, a respected adventurer, he always had the desire to conquer mountains of various heights. He disappeared after he was seen hiking towards the highest summit in North America in the winter of 1981, with only an abandoned camp, plus a single snowshoe track, to tell the story.
While surfing for their stories, I came across these other names:
CARL McCUNN: A photographer who went to the Alaskan wilderness in the 1980s to take some shots. He somehow forgot to confirm the helicopter’s pick-up on a specific day, and after almost a year of being stranded he decided to end his life.
JOHN FRANKLIN: He was the captain of the 1845 Arctic exploration that claimed his life, as well as the lives of all of his 128 crewmen due starvation, injury, fatigue, frost-bite etc.
ROBERT FALCON SCOTT: Finding out that his team was not the first to reach the South Pole (in 1912), they headed back down with heavy hearts. Due to exhaustion and injuries, they never made it home. Sadly, only 3 out of 5 bodies were found.
See why my day has become depressing?