Monday, July 16, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

David Foster Wallace

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"If, by the virtue of charity or the circumstance of desperation, you ever chance to spend a little time around a Substance-recovery halfway facility like Enfield MA’s state-funded Ennet House, you will acquire many exotic new facts…That certain persons simply will not like you no matter what you do. That sleeping can be a form of emotional escape and can with sustained effort be abused. That purposeful sleep-deprivation can also be an abusable escape. That you do not have to like a person in order to learn from him/her/it. That loneliness is not a function of solitude. That logical validity is not a guarantee of truth. That it takes effort to pay attention to any one stimulus for more than a few seconds. That boring activities become, perversely, much less boring if you concentrate intently on them. That if enough people in a silent room are drinking coffee it is possible to make out the sound of steam coming off the coffee. That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt. That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That it is possible to fall asleep during an anxiety attack. That concentrating intently on anything is very hard work. That 99% of compulsive thinkers’ thinking is about themselves; that 99% of this self-directed thinking consists of imagining and then getting ready for things that are going to happen to them; and then, weirdly, that if they stop to think about it, that 100% of the things they spend 99% of their time and energy imagining and trying to prepare for all the contingencies and consequences of are never good. In short that 99% of the head’s thinking activity consists of trying to scare the everliving shit out of itself. That it is possible to make rather tasty poached eggs in a microwave oven. That some people’s moms never taught them to cover up or turn away when they sneeze. That the people to be the most frightened of are the people who are the most frightened. That it takes great personal courage to let yourself appear weak. That no single, individual moment is in and of itself unendurable. That other people can often see things about you that you yourself cannot see, even if those people are stupid. That having a lot of money does not immunize people from suffering or fear. That trying to dance sober is a whole different kettle of fish. That different people have radically different ideas of basic personal hygiene. That, perversely, it is often more fun to want something than to have it. That if you do something nice for somebody in secret, anonymously, without letting the person you did it for know it was you or anybody else know what it was you did or in any way or form trying to get credit for it, it’s almost its own form of intoxicating buzz. That anonymous generosity, too, can be abused. That it is permissible to want. That everybody is identical in their unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else. That this isn’t necessarily perverse. That there might not be angels, but there are people who might as well be angels."

 
David Foster Wallace

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I'd like to say that people people can change anything they want to; and that means everything in the world. Show me any country and there'll be people in it. And it's the people that make the country. People have got to stop pretending they're not on the world. People are running about following their little tracks. I am one of them. But we've all gotta stop just stop following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything; this is something that I'm beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other; it's because they've been dehumanized. It's time to take that humanity back into the centre of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed... it ain't going anywhere! They should have that on a big billboard across Times Square. Think on that. Without people you're nothing.

 
Joe Strummer
 

You cannot work too hard at poetry. People are bad at it not because they have tin ears, but because they simply don't have the faintest idea how much work goes into it. It's not as if you're ordering a pizza or doing something that requires direct communication in a very banal way. But it seems these days the only people who spend time over things are retired people and prisoners. We bolt things, untasted. It's so easy to say, 'That'll do.' Everyone's in a hurry. People are intellectually lazy, morally lazy, ethically lazy...All the time. When people get angry with a traffic warden they don't stop and think what it would be like to be a traffic warden or how annoying it would be if people could park wherever they liked. People talk lazily about how hypocritical politicians are. But everyone is. On the one hand we hate that petrol is expensive and on the other we go on about global warming. We abrogate the responsibility for thought and moral decisions onto others and then have the luxury of saying it's not good enough.

 
Stephen Fry
 

If you're coming into this YouTube thing, do it because of what you can do for other people... Don't worry so much about yourself, and if you're doing ok, and if you love yourself — you do, trust me. Think of what you can do for other people... Not some kind of self review, not some kind of day or week or however long to make sure you feel good about yourself — but thinking about the other people all around you, all the time, who could always — always use a hand, one way or another, even if it's kindness. Think of that instead. And maybe you are starting to notice my quote on the page "Look without, and you will be fulfilled within — without a doubt." I really mean that — look without, without of yourself — not within.

 
Ysabella Brave
 

A: "Your objection to the self-evident has no validity. There is no such thing as disagreement. People agree about everything."
B: "That’s absurd; people disagree constantly, and about all kinds of things."
A: "How can they? There’s nothing to disagree about; no subject matter. After all, nothing exists."
B: "Nonsense. All kinds of things exist, you know that as well as I do."
A: "That’s one. You must accept the existence axiom, even to utter the term “disagreement.” But to continue, I still maintain that disagreement is unreal. How can people disagree when they are unconscious beings who are unable to hold any ideas at all?"
B: "Of course people hold ideas. They are conscious beings. You know that."
A: "There’s another axiom, but even so, why is disagreement about axioms a problem? Why should it suggest that one or more of the parties is mistaken? Perhaps all of the people who disagree about the very same point are equally, objectively right."
B: "That’s impossible. If two ideas contradict each other, they can’t both be right. Contradictions can’t exist in reality. After all, A is A."
Existence, consciousness, identity are presupposed by every statement and by every concept, including that of "disagreement." … In the act of voicing his objection, therefore, the objector has conceded the case. In any act of challenging or denying the three axioms, a man reaffirms them, no matter what the particular content of this challenge. The axioms are invulnerable.
The opponents of these axioms pose as defenders of truth, but it is only a pose. Their attack on the self-evident amounts to the charge. "Your belief in an idea doesn't necessarily make it true; you must prove it, because facts are what they are independent of your beliefs." Every element of this charge relies on the very axioms that these people are questioning and supposedly setting aside.

 
Leonard Peikoff
 

I would encourage people to look around them in their community and find an organization that is doing something that they believe in, even if that organization has only five people, or ten people, or twenty people, or a hundred people. And to look at history and understand that when change takes place it takes place as a result of large, large numbers of people doing little things unbeknownst to one another. And that history is very important for people to not get discouraged. Because if you look at history you see the way the labor movement was able to achieve things when it stuck to its guns, when it organized, when it resisted. Black people were able to change their condition when they fought back and when they organized. Same thing with the movement against the war in Vietnam, and the women's movement. History is instructive. And what it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper. Anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much, much larger sort of flow of energy. And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place.

 
Howard Zinn
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