Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: David Foster Wallace and love
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:57 am
Posts: 1
Hi folks

I’ve got a bit of an unusual request.

I started Infinite Summer with the rest of you, and reading IJ has coincided with planning my wedding, which will take place at the end of November.

I’ve been totally blown away by the writing in IJ, and so when I came to think about what kind of reading I’d like at the civil ceremony, I thought DFW could be the way to go.

Now of course, the book is riddled with passages about deformity, addiction, and bowel movements, but would there be something suitable about love too? I’m up to about p800 now, and am sure I have read bits in some way related to passion for another human being, but because I’m hopeless at taking notes as I read, I don’t know if these passages actually exist in a form suitable for a reading.

So can anyone suggest anything? It could actually come from any of his writing, and if I was marrying Roger Federer, I guess this would be a simple challenge. I know DFW cared deeply about people and the relationships that bind them, so it would be great to have something appropriate for our wedding.


Thanks in advance,



J


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 Post subject: Re: David Foster Wallace and love
PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Italy
Maybe not really what you look for.

Quote:
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 -- be it JC or Allah, bet it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles -- 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 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 grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.
They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.
And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational the way a commencement speech is supposed to sound. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are, of course, free to think of it whatever you wish. But please don't just dismiss it as just some finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon. None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death.

The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

"This is water."

"This is water."

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.

I wish you way more than luck.

From the Kenyon Commencement Address - May 21, 2005.
The mp3 of a part of this speech can be found here http://www.wpr.org/book/davidfosterwallace/DFW%20Kenyon.mp3
The whole speech is published by Little, Brown and Company Link to Amazon


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 Post subject: Re: David Foster Wallace and love
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:32 am
Posts: 17
Cut it down to:

Quote:
There are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom ... simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time ... It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. ... I wish you way more than luck.

... and you should be good.


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