David Foster Wallace: 10 quotes on his birthday
David Foster Wallace is one of the most important writers of his generation. His constant struggles both against depression and for truth pervade his writings. Some consider his works to be marred by highbrow intellectualism and a tendency toward long-windedness, but his advocates argue that these are more than compensated for by the quality of Wallace's ideas and his self-awareness. He is most famous for 1996 novel, "Infinite Jest." Wallace published several collections of fiction and nonfiction writing and one commencement speech delivered at Kenyon college in 2005 before his suicide in 2008. Here, to celebrate his life, are 10 quotes from Wallace.
1. What to worship
"[H]ere's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship [...] is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already - it's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness."
(from a commencement speech Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005, later published as a book called "This Is Water")
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