Monday, October 22, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

David Foster Wallace

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...a large percentage of bright young men and women locate the impetus behind their career choice in the belief that they are fundamentally different from the common run of man, unique and in certain crucial ways superior, more as it were central, meaningful---what else could explain the fact that they themselves have been at the exact center of all they've experienced for the whole 20 years of their conscious lives?---and that they can and will make a difference in their chosen field simply by the fact of their unique and central presence to it...
--
"Mister Squishy", Oblivion: Stories

 
David Foster Wallace

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It is the historical mind, rather than the scientific (in the physicist's sense), that destroyed the mythical orientation of European culture; the historian, not the mathematician, introduced the "higher criticism," the standard of actual fact. It is he who is the real apostle of the realistic age. Science builds its structure of hypothetical "elements" and laws of their behavior, touching on reality at crucial points . . . . But the historian does not locate known facts in a hypothetical, general pattern of processes; his aim is to link fact to fact, one unique knowable event to another individual one that begot it.

 
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A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. Its beauty comes from the fact that the author is what he is. It has nothing to do with the fact that other people want what they want.

 
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There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Science is a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions. But there is one common element in these visions. The common element is rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture, Western or Eastern as the case may be. It is no more Western than it is Arab or Indian or Japanese or Chinese. Arabs and Indians and Japanese and Chinese had a big share in the development of modern science. And two thousand years earlier, the beginnings of science were as much Babylonian and Egyptian as Greek. One of the central facts about science is that it pays no attention to East and West and North and South and black and yellow and white. It belongs to everybody who is willing to make the effort to learn it.

 
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I understand not everybody agrees with the decisions I've made, but that's not unique to Central or South America. Truth of the matter is, there's people who disagree with the decisions I've made all over the world. But that's what happens when you make decisions.

 
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