The Importance of Community in How To Tell a True War Story, Into the Wild, and Robert Thurman’s Essay, Wisdom

The Importance of Community in How To Tell a True War Story, Into the Wild, and Robert Thurman’s Essay, Wisdom

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Knowledge is defined as the body of truth or facts accumulated in the course of time. Knowledge is gained through school, peers, friends and family and oneself, but one gains the most knowledge through the community. A community is a group of people living in a particular location. The community helps individual see what is right from wrong, by pointing it out. In Tim O’Brien’s essay, “How to Tell a True War Story”, he mentions that individuals need a community to grow and learn. O’Brien states that as individual we need other people to lean on during hard and difficult times. In Selections from into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, Chris McCandless embarked on a journey to find himself. At first, McCandless was all about an individual depending on them self to learn, but in the end he realized that one needs a community to help one learn. In Robert Thurman’s essay, “Wisdom”, he emphasizes that community is the best pathway to learning. In most levels of Buddhism, the authority and projection level of the mentor or teacher is de-emphasized because the burden is on the students to find things out for themselves, so the basic model of the spiritual teacher is that of a virtuous friend or auspicious friend by giving teachings helps you gain knowledge and experience. The community is one that does the teachings. The teaching would be telling the individual what is considered wrong or dishonest. The parent will tell the individual that stealing is wrong. Without the community, friend and family to tell an individual wrong from right, the individual will never know that perhaps stealing is wrong and telling lies are dishonest. With nobody correcting the individual, the individual will always think that whatever he/she is doing is always right...


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...flessness. To fully reach selflessness, one has to be able to let go of all labels such as “I” and “me”. The individual has to be able to see the true meaning in life, like the color of the sunset and how alive a tree looks. The individual does not have to change to reach selflessness. The individual has to able to open his/her mind to new ideas but at the same time doubt those ideas. The individual had to question the source and the credibility of the speaker. When an individual has learned the lesson of doubt, the individual is able to grow new knowledge.




Works Cited

Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Villard Books, Random House, 1996.
O’Brien, Tim. “How to Tell a True War Story.” The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway Books, 1998. 67-85.
Thurman, Robert. Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well. New York: Riverhead Books, 2004.

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