David Foster Wallace: Untrendy Emotions

5 Jan

a.k.a. everything but happiness…

Sigh.

Paying respects, to us and him, this article makes some amazing points about human (good)nature.  READ IT.

In it, the late David Foster Wallace writes about “Truth” — big “T”.  And, here’s the best part…

you get to pick.

To quote:

But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her little child in the checkout line – maybe she’s not usually like this; maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of her husband who’s dying of bone cancer, or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the Motor Vehicles Dept who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a nightmarish red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible – it just depends on what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important – if you want to operate on your default setting – then you, like me, will not consider possibilities that aren’t pointless and annoying. But if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars – compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff’s necessarily true: the only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.‘ (emphasis mine)

Wallace challenges us to face our Truths.  Our realities.  Our defaults.  Yes.  You know– That autopilot version of you that doesn’t open the door for the person behind you… Hmpf!

Wallace notes that we live in the default— ‘worship’ in it– because our culture supports it.  Even when it does not support us.  It’s not freedom.  It’s fixation.  Or entrapment.

Per Wallace:

[T]he world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the 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 to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying.

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the “rat race” – the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.‘ (emphasis and inserted images 😉 mine)

Be found.  Be loving.  Be loved.

  No trends.  Just Truth.

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