Today I read about Hannah Montana. Obviously I don't have a young teenager since this is my first exposure to her. She doesn't sound like the most inspirational role model, and yet, here she is, bouncing into town to be seen for a healthy ticket price.
It is odd to read of her after just finishing Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. Here was a young person, Christopher McCandless, who truly lived his values, even though some perceived him as misguided. He most likely was a virgin, seeing celibacy as part of his spiritual fulfillment and a necessary accompaniment to his search. His guides were Thoreau, Jack London, John Muir, and others. He wanted everyone to read Jack London's Call of the Wild.
Krakauer has this to say about Jack London.
"McCandless has been infatuated with London since childhood. London's fervent condemnation of capitalist society, his glorification of the primordial world, his championing of the great unwashed - all of it mirrored McCandless's passions. Mesmerized by London's turgid portrayal of life in Alaska, and the Yukon, McCandless read and reread The Call of the Wild, White Fang, "To Build a Fire," "An Odyssey of the North," "The Wit of Porportuk." He was so enthralled by these tales, however, that he seemed to forget they were works of fiction, constructions of the imagination that had more with do with London's romantic sensibilities than with the actuality of life in the subarctic wilderness. McCandless conveniently overlooked the fact that London himself had spent just a single winter in the North and that he'd died by his own hand on his California estate at the age of forty, a fatuous drunk, obese and pathetic, maintaining a sedentary existence that bore scant resemblance to the ideals he espoused in print."
Well, that seems a bit harsh, and yet, it is perhaps important to separate imagination, art, and reality. Via Magazine this month has an article titled, "Shopping: Is It the New Adventure Travel?" I always felt travel was about expanding the horizons, not shrinking them. It seems people enjoy shopping in the same shops they have at home. The article goes on and on about how the endorphins pump when we buy new shoes. I know it is to find the balance, but I wonder what it is to live as the Mitchell family is living right now, and what it is to make purchasing new clothes and shoes, one's life entertainment and goal.
How do we find the balance, the stretch, the place to weigh our love of love of family and friends, and the individuality of soul?
Some of the last words of McCandless were these: "HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED."
Maybe it is easier to just take Bush's advice, and shop, but I think it is important to consider what it is our country is doing. The United States manufactures and sells weapons and places to use them. "Shop," we say to the world. Shop!
The mall can be a dangerous jungle if complacency allows us to believe that new shoes mean life, and new weapons mean defense.
The Buddha once said: Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.
The Dalai Lama says: My religion is kindness.
Perhaps in allowing the soles of our feet to touch the ground, we can rise in meeting what connects and surrounds. Love is juicy. Juice! Connect!!