David Foster Wallace – Enslavement and Lucid Thoughts
“That feeling of having to obey every impulse and gratify every desire seems to me to be a strange kind of slavery. Nobody talks about it as such, though.”
If you’re familiar with his work, you know that David Foster Wallace was exceptionally and almost painfully aware of the finer details of both himself and his surroundings. One would be hard-pressed to find an individual whose fingers have been pressed more squarely to the heartbeat of late-20th, early-21st century American culture than were those of Wallace.
In spite of his renown and his brilliance, Wallace carried himself with an air of cautious humility, clearly wanting very badly not to convey self-importance or elitism. Many who call his image to mind probably think first of the bandannas (to soak up his excessive perspiration) and long, flowing hair, two iconic aspects of his long-time appearance.
The hour-and-a-half-long interview is remarkable in its entirety, but I was particularly enamored with one segment in which Wallace discusses American culture:
Whatever the case, it seems to me that to be conscious of what one does and of one’s reasons for living in such and such a way is to be perhaps freer, or at least more honest and capable of change, than those who are less aware. Your verdict may well be that it is best for you to live by traditional values or to pursue the buzz of the moment. Bits of these two opposed ideals are certainly sprinkled into my philosophy of living, along with a thousand other things.
Click to read an amazing piece on Refine the Mind on David Foster Wallace — David Foster Wallace Philosophy.