The Relationship Between the Society and the Individual
The society and the individual have a strong and close relationship. It has been noted that an individual is formed and shaped in relation to the society in which he or she grows in. The society provides the individual with the necessities of life and it is the duty of the individual to use these necessities in the most reasonable way without exploitation. The society provides economic, political, cultural and social structures that help the individual carry out his or her daily duties effectively. The society allows the individual achieve his objectives and wishes that he could have not achieved alone.
A society can be defined based on its political structure. The society provides an individual a choice on the kind of politics he is willing to engage in. The political structure within the society depends on the individual’s understanding of politics and his will to engage in politics. The political structure defines the legal and the government system of the society. Statutory, customary and common laws arise because of the political structure. Therefore, through the society the individual is provided with a governing body that directs the society in the achievement of its objectives.
The political structure within the society ensures that the individual has a well defined system of addressing issues related to the society. The governing body of the society addresses relationship between that particular society and the neighboring societies to ensure that the individual is protected from political attacks from neighboring societies or other antisocial behaviors. The political structure ensures that good neighboring relations are executed and maintained; hence this impacts positively on the individual in pursuit of his daily duties especially those which might require him to go beyond his societal boarders (Church, 153-182).
In the ‘Ceremony’ the writer has addressed some aspects of politics found in societies. This is found on the fact that Tayo had gone to fight against Japan in the Second World War. The Second World War was triggered by thirst for political power among super power countries. In the film ‘Into the world’ the director does reveals some aspect of political structure and its effect in the world of McCandless. This is shown where the park rangers warn McCandless that he may not kayak without a license. This shows some of the requirements within a society such as the society of McCandless.
In every society there are ways and means which the individual engage in to raise a livelihood. This is defined by the economic structure within the society. There are many and different economic activities available in the society that the individual can engage in. In the current societies this depends on an individual’s qualification and experience. An individual’s qualification is based on his level of education and experience is based on the period in which he has been working in a particular field. Brett (2006, 155-178) states that the economic activity depends on the society’s geographical location. Geographical location relates to the climatic conditions and the landscape. For example, agriculture may be the main economic activity of a society in the highlands which experience high rainfall.
The two works, ‘Ceremony’ and ‘Into the wild’ do not explicitly explain the economic activities of these two societies. Tayo and McCandless are not shown to be engaging in any economic activity. More so, McCandless live on mice, roots and plants of the wild. On the other hand, Tayo takes alcohol to console him for the loss of his cousin during the fight, but the writer does not show where Tayo gets the money to buy the alcohol from. Therefore, the writer and the director ignore the economic structure of the two societies which forms the society and make it complete, otherwise the two societies might be said to be incomplete.
Cultural structure within a society provides the individual with a way of life accepted in that society. The cultural structure presents the norms, values and believes that individuals in that society share. The cultural structure creates group and societal cohesiveness. Through culture the individual is able to be associated with a given society since different societies have different cultures. The individual is formed through the values acquired from the cultural structure within his society. The cultural structure is usually based on traditions of a particular society shaped in order to accommodate the modern society. The quality of the individual is acquired from generation to generation in the cultural context (Levine, 6).
The writer of ‘Ceremony’ brings in some aspect of culture and the expectation of the society from such culture. After Tayo comes back from the war, he is depressed by the loss of his cousin who died in the conflict. Due to this Tayo results to alcoholism. For his recovery, Tayo is helped by a Shaman who engages Tayo to the spiritual world. Therefore, in Tayo’s society there was some aspect of culture shown by believe in intercession to the spiritual world. On the other hand, the director of ‘Into the wild’ presents a hollow McCandless society since it lacks address of a cultural structure. The director does not involve McCandless in his culture neither nor among other actors.
The old adage, ‘no man is an island’ can be used to address the society’s capabilities of providing social systems in which individuals interact with each other. The individual cannot live nor survive on his own since he needs support from other individuals in the society. Individuals in the same society may be aware or not aware of the interaction they have on each other. In every society, there are social and anti-social behaviors. Generally, the society upheld the social behavior and disregards the anti social behaviors. It is the role of the society to provide the knowledge of the accepted social conduct to the individual.
In the ‘Ceremony’ the writer approaches the reader with an anti social conduct in Tayo’s society. Tayo is a veteran and just arrived to fight against Japan in the Second World War. In this context, the war is an anti social behavior in every society. A society expects the individual to live in a peaceful environment. In addition, Tayo feels depressed by the loss of his cousin. This is the effect of the close relationship they enjoyed with the cousin. Had the writer presented Tayo as an anti social person towards his cousin, then Tayo would not be affected by the loss of his cousin to the point of loosing hope for his life (Leslie, 1977).
The director of ‘Into the wild’ presents a high level of socialism in McCandless’ world and society. In the first instance, McCandless family members are desperate after his unknown off disappearance. A family is considered a social setting within any given society and that is why McCandless family feels believed. In his wild adventure, McCandless interacts and forms friendship with a hippie couple of Jan and Rainey. He later meets Tracy a teenage girl who falls in love with him and Ron who lives in isolation as he remembers the loss of his family during his service in the United States Army. Ron teaches McCandless art of traveling making him acquire knowledge on direction.
After all the experiences in the wild and nothing came out of it, McCandless recalls his family. He now understands that it is only in his that he could enjoy what the world has to offer. McCandless decides to go back to his family and friends, but unfortunately he does not make it because the stream he crossed had become wider and deeper. In the end, McCandless becomes a prisoner in a bus shelter. He remembers how he felt that he was self sufficient but now he has to rely on other people for help, more so for something to it. He dies thinking of his family realizing that he could not survive on his own (Sean, 2007).
In contrast to the ‘Ceremony’, the ‘Into the wild’ presents the society based on a wider aspect of the social structure. In the film, what the society mainly provides to the individual is the social structure. In the social structure that is where the individual can full discover himself and the worth of the society by what it can provide: the rest of the people. In the directors world the society is a social system in which the individual enjoys to live in because of the interactivity and help that he can acquire from others.
As highlighted above, there is a deep relationship between the society and the individual. It is clear that one cannot separate the individual from the society. The society is complete if it has political, economic, cultural and social structures. The political structure provides the individual with a governing body that outlines laws for that society. The economic structure provides an individual with activities that he can source livelihood. The cultural structure defines the individual way of life, the values to uphold and the norms to be shared for cohesiveness. Through the social structure, the individual interacts with rest of the members of the society and realizes he cannot achieve his desires all alone. The book ‘Ceremony’ and the film, ‘Into the wild’ present the relationship between the society and the individual in an incomplete manner because they do not present all the structures that form a society.