Into The Wild By Alain De Botton

1257 Words 6 Pages
Landscapes can embody values that have the power to prompt philosophical insight and a spiritual awakening in an individual experiencing a landscape. This notion is encapsulated in Alain de Botton’s non-fiction memoir, The Art of Travel (2002) and Sean Penn’s film ‘Into the Wild’ (2007). These texts collectively explore the philosophy of the relationship between people and landscapes and it’s potential power to nurture an intellectual and spiritual understanding of one’s self and the human condition.

Alain de Botton reveals in his discussion ‘On the Exotic’ that individual’s often search for happiness and freedom in exotic landscapes, that they cannot find in their mundane world of home. And ultimately, it is the experience of a new exotic
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Chris suggests that the sea gives you the opportunity to “find yourself in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help but your own hands and your own head”. Essentially, he suggests that to find one’s true self is to be free from all burdens and entrapments, to have nothing but your own hands and head. And so, Chris embarks on a “climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual revolution”: to find his individuality in the natural landscape that embodies values more conducive to his own, a landscape which is free from the entrapments of the modern …show more content…
De Botton discusses ‘On the Country and the City’ his experience of The Lake District and the tendency of city dwellers to visit the country in search of comfort and healing. Throughout the chapter, the composer accentuates the juxtaposition between the country and city to highlight nature’s power to transform and restore one’s psychological disposition when they escape the disillusionment of the City: the juxtaposition between Wordsworth’s depiction of The Lake District as restorative and beautiful in its “quietness and beauty” with de Botton’s sensory representation of the City as “evil tongues, rash judgments…sneers of selfish men…the smoke, congestion, poverty and ugliness of cities”. Through this juxtaposition de Botton suggests that nature is restorative and offers a reprieve from the City, a place which fosters fairly corrosive, damaging and destructive values such as greed and envy that physically and psychologically corrode society. However, the vivid descriptions of the natural landscape and the personification of the trees as “noble bearing…harmonious…ordered complexity…patience and dignity”, suggests that specific values and virtues are embedded in the natural landscape that characterises it as a place of peace and reprieve from the toxicity of the City. The entire chapter ‘On the Country and the City’ is

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