Hamilton’s discovery that McCandless perished because he ate toxic seeds is unlikely to persuade many Alaskans to regard McCandless in a more sympathetic light, but it may prevent other backcountry foragers from accidentally poisoning themselves. Had McCandless’s guidebook to edible plants warned that Hedysarum alpinum seeds contain a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis, he probably would have walked out of the wild in late August with no more difficulty than when he walked into the wild in April, and would still be alive today. If that were the case, Chris McCandless would now be forty-five years old.
The revenge on Bradley Manning did not stop whistleblowers, but the opposite, it has stimulated them, Snowden said Manning was his inspiration. So it is likely that this will happen again, and little by little the list of whistleblowers may grow at an uncontrollable rate. I think this will happen, and we will see the masters of the world understand that the beginning of the end of their kingdom has come. Knowledge is power, and if you cannot control knowledge you cannot control power. Bradley and Assange suffered together their cruel, illegal and unjust treatment, thus better tan if either had been the only target. Being alone would have been harder. Now with Snowden they are 3, reminding us of The Three Musqueteers. Later they will be 7, reminding us of the The Magnificent Seven, later 12, reminding us of the 12 Apostles…
Technology may make it easier to communicate electronically, but more difficult to do so emotionally.
Each step “forward” has made it easier, just a little, to avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity.
Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be messy, and painful, and almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die.