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DFW at 55, Infinite Jest, and some stuff about empathy

February 22, 2017

David Foster Wallace would’ve been 55 today and you all should read Infinite Jest.
It’s the gateway drug to postmodernism and postmodernism is pretty much life as we know it today- meta everything, hyper self-aware and the failure of language wrapped in some IP packets.
but that’s all academic crap you can figure out in your local community college in about 60 min.
the main genius of Dave was he could take that dry stuff and make it real by applying it to life.
Dave’s main theme was empathy and it’s seeming impossibility for us to achieve since we are all prisoners of our own egos and conveying our thoughts/feelings thru language is at best like knowing what is inside a room by only looking thru the keyhole (actual metaphor in DFW short story Good Old Neon. you should read that as well).
but despite all that you still had to try to make that connection. and fiction/art at it’s best can get you there.
cos as Dave said, “Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being.”
one of the reasons, if not the main reason, we are in this shit state we are in today is because of a failure at even attempting empathy.
so lose yourself so you can find yourself in someone other than yourself.
and read a book. a big fat long one with end-notes you have to keep turning to that make you aware you’re a human sitting there reading a book alone.
that will help too.
DFW 2/21/62- 9/12/08

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