Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Will to Survive

I was somewhat familiar with Shackleton's Voyage beforehand after hearing some special on the history channel maybe a couple of years ago. Reading through the book somewhat reminded me of the Hugh Glass and his journey through the deadly terrain of South Dakota after he was left for dead in the early 1800's, before Shackleton's time. Or for those of you who are familiar with the Oscar-winning movie The Revenant, Leo DiCaprio plays Glass. What I find truly astonishing about true stories like these is that the first-person accounts of them make them sound more like a legend than real. I felt like I was reading a real-life Jack London  novel while reading Endurance. The human instinct of survival is truly captivating to me because it pushed all of the men in and over their limits of survival. I was amazed at how well they were able to conserve rations of food to last as long as they did. Many people would probably say, "I'll never eat seal meat or dog meat as long as I live", but until it becomes their only option to live, they will never understand the true meaning of survival. Our brain is programmed to tell us when we require a certain nutrient in order to maintain proper bodily homeostasis. I find it rather surprising that the men didn't go incredibly mad or crazy, only a few of them acted out every once in a while but who wouldn't in a terrible predicament. It amazed me that the men did not try to kill each other even though there was some friction between the crew. Everyone seemed to understand the reality of the situation and worked together in order to overcome it. The human body is truly a remarkable thing when pushed to the limits in a stressful life or death situation. How far would you go to survive if trapped in one of the most desolate locations in the world?    


  1. When I first saw The Revenant I was astounded by his extreme will to survive. It truly is amazing what the human body is capable of when it is fighting for its life. I also am somewhat surprised that the men didn't have any more arguments or fights than they did. When in those conditions I would expect people to lose their sanity a bit and act out irrationally.