Into the Wild

“Into the Wild”, based on a true story is a film adaptation of a book by Jon Krakauer with the same title that revolves around a bright college graduate Christopher McCandless, who defies society’s conventions by secluding himself in the extreme weather conditions of Alaska in order to achieve inner satisfaction and to find the meaning of life, freeing himself from the incarceration of the civilization.

The film is a cinematic beauty with an uncanny feel to it, from the beauty of ‘aerial shots’ of the Alaskan landscape, travel hodge-podge to the alluring melodies of Eddie Vedder’s solos. The effect is somewhat mystical like it’s some kind of a 60s’ hippie movie.

In this thought-provoking film, director Sean Penn has portrayed the protagonist as a man who rejects what he sees as materialism in a modern world, by leaving his upper-middle-class suburban lifestyle, abandoning his car and other belongings and setting off on an adventure in search of ‘real’ happiness and freedom.

He abandons the society in search of ultimate truth, to fill the hollow chasm in his heart with joy and to unravel the mysteries of mother-nature but realizes the hard way that “Happiness is only real when shared.” it is not in seclusion, nor is it in living-the-moment but is found in the process of achieving something bigger in life, it is in not in the cars or the clothes that you buy, it is in that pleasure of being capable of ‘giving’.

On his journey of self-discovery, this young nomad changes into a figure of heroism for many people who find comfort in the wilderness. But it is for you to decide after watching the movie if Christopher McCandless was a fearless nomad, a young idealist, or a cynical man who lacked motivation in his life. 

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Freedom of Press

Journalism has become somewhat an arduous profession in a country like Pakistan where ‘freedom of press’ has become a myth as it has been suppressed or controlled over the time during different political regimes. The freedom of speech in Pakistan continues to be one of the biggest threats for journalists- threatening journalists both physically and digitally. In this difficult time, the journalist community and private media are fighting to protect their rights and struggling to survive. This hindrance has affected the personal and professional lives of journalists and created barriers in circulating and broadcasting of news across the country.

In recent years we have witnessed that journalists and activists are now worried about secure communications after the disclosure of increased use of surveillance technologies in Pakistan. When an external party gains unauthorized access to a journalist’s information, it could possibly threaten the physical safety of both the journalist and the sources from where that evidence was collected. This could also be used to prevent the journalist from reporting on a story, or worse could put her or him in jeopardy.

Over the years journalists in Pakistan have been persecuted, threatened and killed for speaking the truth, facing many threats from the government, religious fanatics and armed forces for showing the reality to the masses. The increasing rate of persecutions against journalists indicates that freedom of speech is not protected, putting journalists on a perilous path while they struggle to survive and fight for their rights for free speech. It has made it difficult for the journalists, prospective journalists, bloggers and private media to expand and flourish.

Despite the constitutional freedom of speech in Pakistan, journalists still face countless challenges while they report from conflict zones. The undeniable external interference of the religious and various political parties in Pakistan has left journalists circumscribed regarding freedom of speech.

Unless the media in Pakistan is completely unconstrained to publish or broadcast any news, the journalists will always be under some sort of ‘pressure’ from the government, religious parties and armed forces to undertake their tasks freely and impartially according to the expectations of the people.

“The Skinny Love Conundrum”

A couple of years ago I was rummaging through YouTube channels in search of ‘new music’ for my somewhat profound-growing-self, exploring new music to feed this curious soul of mine. I was going through a phase of an existential crisis, questioning my motives of living. There was an unending feud going on within me from questions to confusions and life decisions, it was then that I stumbled upon a few songs including Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” which was a completely different genre for me back then when I was a dedicated ‘Metal’ fan. Indie Folk was a whole new world for me, from the profound meanings behind the songs, the thought provoking lyrics, idyllically inexplicable album art and the amazingly ‘eargasmic’ tunes.

“Skinny Love” came out in 2007 as a single from Bon Iver’s debut album For Emma, Forever Ago. There had been many assumptions since then on what the song is about, trying to clarify the meaning behind it but music is a not your typical math problem, it is a form of art that can be interpreted in a thousand ways.

Justin Vernon, who also wrote the lyrics of the song, has an unparalleled euphonious voice that is an elixir to your ears and soul. He has a rather sugary Irish touch in his voice that keeps you enthralled throughout the song.

The song centers on how the ghosts of the past can be haunting for the future, you are somewhat stuck in a limbo of fear and uncertainties to fall in love all over again. Vernon seems unable to move forward after going through the misery of love. However it can also be derived from the lyrics “I tell my love to wreck it all/Cut out all the ropes and let me fall” that this is a song about desolation in love yet Vernon is yearning for affection, wishing to live in the moment and let himself fall all over again in the bittersweet taste of love.

The title itself interprets that the lovers/friends are tied by a knot that is too frail to last long and the love they share is too ‘skinny’ to survive and is on the verge of dying. The line “Come on, skinny love, just last the year/Pour a little salt you were never here” defines that the relationship between these two people is fading away but they are still trying hard to figure a way out, to make it last forever.

Skinny Love for me was not a just another song but an epiphany that made me realize there’s more to life than just surviving it. It gave me a different perspective on life when I was torn between the world of illusions and reality.

I recommend this song to all the oddly beautiful souls out there who are always petrified to start anew and live in the fear of making the same mistakes again and again. 

Who is Tyler Durden?

Who is Tyler Durden? Is it the monster that you created like Dr. Jekyll created Mr. Hyde in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” or is it just a character of Fight Club? What pushed him to a level of anarchy and self-destruction?

Society? Yes, society and its endless derision in the form of social ills.

Tyler Durden is within us all, the unwanted inner child that grows out ugly. The product of a bizarre society that is willing to spend a million on Liposuction than spending a penny on the people who are left with carcasses as their bodies. A nation that fights against hunger, poverty and education but cannot find a cure for the diseases they spread like Consumerism, Hedonism and Materialism that are ravaging their souls every second.

They are turning into a pile of ‘compost’ as the narrator would say.

Who is Tyler Durden?

Tyler Durden is your alter ego. He is the sense of frustration within us, our own sense of penitence. He is not your typical hedonistic-fu**er-of-a-self. He is the Mother Teresa of your generation.

He is not just a character from “Fight Club”, a book that you would read and forget over time. Tyler Durden is the symbol of humanity that has been created to eliminate the space monkey-ness, to introduce a little anarchy in the ‘social order’. He is the ideal of a society to eliminate outbreak of consumerism, Capitalism and hedonism.

He is the symbol of freedom and individuality.  

Tyler Durden is your savior and the Fight Club is your haven.