The self, if and how to escape it, who and what we really are. These are the questions that pondered these two young men’s consciousness. The quest to find the ultimate truth is what Chris McCandless and Siddhartha set out to discover or die trying. By abandoning their families and life of material things, meeting new people and learning from them, to ultimately reaching enlightenment. An obsession with the ultimate truth and the Atman was enough for the two young men Siddhartha, and Chris McCandless to give up their privileged lives of wealth and material possessions to escape society, and begin a impoverished, pure lifestyle. Without meaning in life we have nothing, both understood this and realized the way they were living now was not getting them any closer to enlightenment. They believed at first to do this they must rid themselves of the “self”. Siddhartha does this by joining the Samanas and practicing self-denial through liberating himself from all traditional trappings of life except those necessary for survival and denying all pleasures of life. After being transformed into a Samana from the well-kept boy he once was, Siddhartha eventually learns the path of self-denial will not serve to him as a solution towards enlightenment. Taking what he has learned he continues on his journey.
Chris McCandless is similar in this aspect by learning that the surrounding lifestyle he has been brought up in has disgusted him and he is taking action by escaping it all. By also practicing self-denial, after donating all of his money, he drives from Georgia to the Arizona to where he abandons his car, burns his money and starts his journey on foot. Changing his name and departing from the lifestyle that he has known all his life, he is compelled to find meaning and to abandon desires of society and disconnect with his past life.
Everywhere both Siddhartha and Chris went they met someone who influenced the rest of their journeys. By learning from others and teaching what they knew it helped keep the travelers in harmony and conscious of their expedition. For Siddhartha, his time spent with others was protracted periods of time that varied. After the Samanas, Siddhartha had spent time with Gotama. By his urge to learn and digest from the drive of the promise of enlightenment, he learns the eightfold path. Later moving on after realizing that he can no longer learn from religious teaching. Eventually then learning different skills along the rest of his journey. Later, he re-enters society for a brief period and experiences the working life of an average man, causing him to urge for possessions. He then has to recollect on his original journey and get back onto his path. After, he gains a more mature sense of perceiving others and and his surroundings, then ultimately learning his most essential lesson, to love. For McCandless, his time spent with others whom became his teachers’ contrasts for the amount of time
Siddhartha spent with his, but not nearly causing lesser of an impact. For what
Chris had learned and taken from his journey was a false sense of a family when
meeting Rainey, Jan, and later Mr. Franz. This causes Chris to retrospect on how he perceived his biological family and reasoning for abandoning them, being his own teacher in this case. Chris, like Siddhartha, attempts going back into society for an period