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Thread: 'Into the Wild's' Chris Mccandless?

  1. #51
    Finis Array Redbone's Avatar
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    I didn't read the book but I saw a documentary on...what? Independent Lens? Or POV? Anyway, it thought it was sad and stupid. I grew up in a rough neighborhood and I cannot imagine for the life of me why someone would purposely seek out the things that he did.

    I also think it's possible for him to be a feeler but a very emotionally immature one. I know someone who is a feeler (why does that always sound creepy?) and has had no contact with family for many, many years because of how he feels about them.

    Did anyone ever read what the park ranger at Denali said about his adventures? It wasn't very flattering or romantic at all.

  2. #52
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Array Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Definitely. But we have read the book and I don't know if the movie paints a different picture. From the book, you get the idea that they guy was a bit of an indipendent asshole, even if friendly and resilient. A lot of details about his "real" life are totally anti-INFP. When they talk about how he used to lead the cross-country running team, when his father talks about him being "bored because he found stuff in school and business too easy", just about his whole approach to life is totally opposite of an IxFP.
    Pretty much.

    I read the book first, then saw the movie a few years later when it was released, and Chris was not the same person.

    In the book, I thought relationally he was a callous jerk through much of it, although I could connect with and admire his vision, as extreme and idealistic as it was -- basically, some sort of philosophical framework that sounds rationally beautifully but that people cannot really ever achieve because it ignores a lot of aspects of being human -- and then you see Chris slowly start to change the more that he embraces his sensory side and merges with the land. He seems to start forgiving his family / wanting to see them again, and missing people. Chances are if he had survived, he would have been far more tempered?

    Was this a typical case of the Ni+Te developing his Fi+Se aspects? Maybe. But the thinking change in his journal writing as opposed to earlier writings is apparent, and his last few scrawls are almost transcendentally sentimental in tone, in a way that I have seen IFPs write normally... marked departure from the stark critical nature of his earlier writing before and during much of his journey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redbone View Post
    Did anyone ever read what the park ranger at Denali said about his adventures? It wasn't very flattering or romantic at all.
    Posthumously Chris took a beating after his story came out (primarily through Jon Krakauer's original article in Outdoor magazine). People literally fleshpiled him after he was down for the count, with letter after letter and public comments on web sites about how "stupid/clueless" he must have been, a hack trying to be a professional. It's one of the things that drove Jon to research things even more deeply, to see if perhaps people weren't being too harsh on Chris.

    Jon also strongly identified with Chris and saw similarities in their personality; Jon by his own description was far too intense and stubborn in terms of his independence (or at least seemed to originally start there and slowly get tempered) to fit the typical IFP model, and he seemed to have burning desire against male authority and a need to prove himself, and later in life became more tempered after dealing with various crises; this seems far more typical of ITJ rather than a flexy P, which can't maintain such an intense and relentless burn.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #53


    A little late to the party. IMO, as far as the book depicts his life, Chris is an under developed INFJ, with an evolved T. He's a seeker. He's able to befriend many on a deep level during his travels, to the point many would have been life long friends. He was pissed at his dad for living a bigamous lifestyle, and by default his mom Billie for, as he perceived, complying with it. That's a heavy FJ no-no if you break an honor rule. Before the travels, he was buying homeless people hamburgers on the weekend, wanted to smuggle arms into South Africa and fight apartheid. Very INFJ, drawn to cause, plus deep feeling for people in general. Yet at the same time he's looking for personal answers on his journeys. He's sorting things out, and trying to see more of the Big Picture. I know many say TJ because of the disconnect with family and friends. I say no. He had his deeply conceived reasons for his family issues. His running, all his beliefs were practically religious in nature. He had a strong moral compass, albeit too rigid in some areas. He just lacked wisdom and experience that come with age, not at a physical location. A TJ wouldn't hand out sandwiches in DC and care about corresponding to the people that helped him along the way. Not the way he did.
    Likes meadowmoon liked this post

  4. #54
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    Well I'm extremely late to this thread but I would like to give my two cents. I firmly believe Chris to be an INFJ, as the commenter above has stated. I've seen somewhere earlier a person state they could imagine an abused INFJ to act the way he did towards his family. Well, Chris's family life included a large amount of abuse...if you would like confirmation of this look to the accounts of his older sister, Billie. The fact of the matter is, an INFJ whose Fe is threatened at a young age will turn their feelings inward and take other's issues out on themselves in a way that makes them push themselves away. I would gander that many INTJs would flat out tell the parents: I am leaving you and explain why. Cutting someone out via Ni-Te is direct and can be communicated without hardship because it is a positive way of extraverting a judgment. But Chris's decision to just leave them confused...mystified as to why their perfect genius child (Fe mask) dropped out of their lives. This is an extremely INFJ thing to do. To crave vengeance against those who have not treated others kindly, and to execute this by dropping them from their lives and making them ask why and saying they will never accept them back. Unfortunately, while the Ni-Ti "Door Slam" works fine with most people, for those who are extremely important in the INFJs life, all this amounts to is running away from problems. The fact, however, that after such long time Chris is willing to forgive his parents and re-accept them into his life shows how much he needs them and proves his idealism does in fact include others. INFJs HATE cutting people out of their lives, and after enough time most will try and forgive them because Ni allows them to detach from their feelings and find a new path to forge via extraverting feeling judgments. Aside from the story line of his relationship with his parents there are many other things which turn me towards this type:

    I want to establish why he is NOT an INFP. Chris looks to be something of an Fi user because of his strong internal feelings, but does anyone think an Fi user would REALLY care about being a "bastard child?" An Fi-dom would not care what society would label him as. He would likely simply carry on believing "I have my identity, who the fuck cares." Fi doms don't do that questioning identity thing or walking over the planet looking for one...that's Fe users who want a stable sense of self. Do we also think an Fi dom, or an IXFP would be so driven as to actively work towards something like Harvard law school to make a parent happy AND take direct action in the world? This sounds much more J to me. A vision of some kind...that could only become disrupted in the INxJ if the Je function experiences turbulence. Another strong indication of Fe is, as the commenter above has stated, his decision to go out and hand food to homeless people in DC as a young kid. This demonstrates excellent people skills and, as his later travels would prove, the inherent ability to connect with everyone. And that is a key to showing why he is an Fe user and not an Fi user. He was able to take what he experienced and make everyone else feel it. He was able to introject into others and show them what they needed, not based on his own moral view, but on how he saw them. That is a beautiful example of Fe. And finally a (paraphrased) quote that simply speaks to his Fe: "God has placed enough in man's surroundings to fill his heart." In other words, there is so much love around that is always accessible to man. This idea of spreading the love around is the principal of Fe as opposed to Fi, which tends to form long bonds and consolidate on certain people into long unbreakable bonds. An INTJ would not have been able to connect as strongly as he did and then leave these people along the way. That is the irony of INFJ vs INTJ, the INTJ is actually capable of being more caught up in specific individuals, because they do not connect as much to the grander scheme of people and things around them.

    The argument of Ni/Se vs Ne/Si to me is quite clear. There is nothing comfortable about what Chris does. He does not seek safety in regulation (Si) nor use this as a point of abstraction (Ne.) Do you remember the part of the story where Chris is at Emory and lives in a harsh environment in his dorm room, living in crates and spending his days not interacting with people as he had before? This is a great demonstration of the harsh nature of Ni, seeking Ti truth by cutting out emotion. An INFP would not do this, they would surround themselves in comfortable conditions in their most introverted loops because of tertiary Si. Chris is happy to go outside and work hard in the grittiest areas of the world and his travels in order to have a one on one experience with nature and reality. He plans out his ultimate adventure (Ni) which he is sure will allow him to come to a conclusion (Je). He sticks to the terms of this adventure so much that he gets himself in trouble and ignores the physical reality and his own necessities (inferior Se). He uses his experiences outside to funnel his understanding of the world (Ni). And perhaps the most interesting part is he comes to a final judgment via a Je function which is non other than Fe...that man needs to surround himself with other men to live a purposeful life. Chris goes away, isolates himself, and ultimately brings himself out of this isolation by making an external feeling judgment. While this is all too late, it only proves the importance of Fe in INFJs. If he had had this sense in the first place he would not have let his tertiary Ti pull him down to Se to the point that he took a difficult and life-costing expedition. Though one might say in a mythologizing of INFJs sense that he completed his ultimate quest for understanding in the world, as he came to his understanding of why others are important. Beautiful story really.

  5. #55


    @meadowmoon : interesting read.

    I only saw the movie, but I remember he definitely struck me as an INFJ. There's a scene where he walks around in town and sees all people in suits etc. as phony people (and perhaps rightly so). That alone imho is quintessential INFJ.
    For the same reason Holden Caulfield, the fictional character, from "Catcher in the rye" also strikes me as an INFJ.
    “I have long held the opinion that the amount of noise that anyone can bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity and therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it.” ~ Schopenhauer

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