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David Foster Wallace Quotes
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David Foster Wallace Quote: “Sometimes he finds out he believes something that he doesn’t even know he believed until it exits his mouth.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “That females are capable of being just as vulgar about sexual and eliminatory functions as males.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He imagined that the clock’s second hand possessed awareness and knew that it was a second hand and that its job was to around and around inside a circle of numbers forever at the same slow unvarying machinelike rate...”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The real, many-veiled answer to the question of just what goes through a great player’s mind as he stands at the center of hostile crowd-noise and lines up the free-throw that will decide the game might well be: nothing at all.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “What if I told you she could because she’s had this happen and she totally knows it’s possible to be just a thing but just like Victor Frankl that every minute from then on minute by minute if you want you can choose to be more if you want, you can choose to be a human being and have it mean something? Then what would you say?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It is unimaginably hard to do this – to live consciously, adultly, day in and day out.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “In short, not only was it surprising to be greeted in person with such enthusiastic words, but it was doubly surprising when the person reciting these words displayed the same kind of disengagement as, say, the checkout clerk who utters the words ‘Have a nice day’ while her expression indicates that it’s really a matter of total indifference to her whether you drop dead in the parking lot outside ten seconds from now.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The amount of organization and toiletry-lugging he has to do to get secretly high in front of a subterranean outtake vent in the pre-supper gap would make a lesser man quail.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Alls – how it’s possible even the worst things that can happen to you can end up being positive factors in who you are.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “One possible way of couching it is to choose to say that we will take apart your skull very gently and reconstruct a skull for you that will have a highly developed bump of clarity and a slight concave dent where the fear-instinct used to be.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “John Ziegler is not a journalist-he is an entertainer. Or maybe it’s better to say that he is part of a peculiar, modern, and very popular type of news industry, one that manages to enjoy authority and influence of journalism without the stodgy constraints of fairness, objectivity, and responsibility that make trying to tell the truth such a drag for everyone involved. It is a frightening industry, though not for any of the simple reasons most critics give.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “One of the great Greek contributions to the very concept of mathematics was the conscious recognition and emphasis of the fact that mathematical entities are abstractions, ideas entertained by the mind and sharply distinguished from physical objects or pictures.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Enfield MA is one of the stranger little facts that make up the idea that is metro Boston, because it is a township composed almost entirely of medical, corporate, and spiritual facilities.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s the digitals. Leith has that word he uses for the shift from analogs to digitals. That word he uses about eleven times an hour.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Cornell University Press announced plans for a festschrift.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “There’s a kind of Ah-ha! Somebody at least for a moment feels about something or sees something the way that I do. It doesn’t happen all the time. It’s these brief flashes or flames, but I get that sometimes. I feel unalone – intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. I feel human and unalone and that I’m in a deep, significant conversation with another consciousness in fiction and poetry in a way that I don’t with other art.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I think the language needs to find new ways to pull the reader. And my personal belief is a lot of it has to do with voice, and a feeling of intimacy between the writer and the reader. That sorta, given the atomization and loneliness of contemporary life – that’s our opening, and that’s’ our gift.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “A real leader can somehow get us to do certain things that deep down we think are good and want to be able to do but usually can’t get ourselves to do on our own.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “And it never even occurs to them their certainty that they are different is what makes them the same.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He has that rare spinal appreciation for beauty in the ordinary that nature seems to bestow on those who have no native words for what they see.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “His parents’ pregnancies must have been all-out chromosomatic war.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The whole quantum setup ends up being embarrassing in the special way something pretentious is embarrassing when it’s also wrong.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Help,” the working Account Representative called, feeling the stir of a tinily remembered humid wind and pausing, again, to look behind him, past the Brougham’s black hood and the carelessly dropped safety helmet beside the white cycle, at the Ramp that spiraled up and out of sight toward a street, empty and bright, before the Building, empty and bright, dispossessed, autonomous and autonomic. Bent to what two lives required, below everything, he called for help again and again.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s unvarying and kind of spirit-killing for a Staffer to watch, that the only way your addict ever learns anything is the hard way. It has to happen to them to like upset the idolatry.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Another way fathers impact sons is that sons, once their voices have changed in puberty, invariably answer the telephone with the same locutions and intonations as their fathers. This holds true regardless of whether the fathers are still alive.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “She had gone to the state fair in Columbus once with her sister Clarice and they had gotten lost in the House of Mirrors and Clarice’s purse had been stolen by a man who had pretended to be a reflection until the very last moment.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “No horror on earth or elsewhere could equal watching your own offspring open his mouth and have nothing come out.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “And yet this nauseated feeling has come and gone for you in the past, it’s passed eventually during prior depressions, Katherine, has it not?’ ‘But when you’re in the feeling you forget. The feeling feels like it’s always been there and will always be there, and you forget. It’s like this whole filter drops down over the whole way you think about everything, a couple weeks after –.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “His hands were no bigger than a four-year-old girl’s. It was surreal. This massive authoritative figure, with a huge red meaty face and thick walrus mustache and dewlaps and a neck that spilled over the rim of his shirt-collar, and his hands were tiny and pink and hairless and butt-soft, delicate as shells. The hands were the capper. I barely made it out of the office before it started.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “American human beings are a slippery and protean bunch in real life, hard as hell to get any kind of universal handle on.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He was trying to pay close attention to his surroundings as a way to avert thought and anxiety.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “What you do is you hide your deep need to hide, and you do this out of the need to appear to other people as if you have the strength not to care how you appear to others.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Do not underestimate objects, he advises Stice. Do not leave objects out of account. The world, after all, which is radically old, is made up of mostly objects.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “We’re all on each other’s food chain. All of us. It’s an individual sport. Welcome to the meaning of individual. We’re each deeply alone here. It’s what we all have in common, this aloneness.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I acknowledge that I could never convey just what was so dreadful about this tableau of a bright, utterly silent room full of men immersed in work. It was the type of nightmare whose terror is less about what you see than about the feeling you have in your chest and stomach about what you’re seeing.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The mother at thirty with face commencing to display the faint seams of the plan for the second face life had in store for her and which she feared would be her own mother’s.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Drug addicts driven to crime to finance their drug addiction are not often inclined toward violent crime.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “My ambitions at this point are modest and mostly surround staying alive.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Like the doctrine of determinism, its better-known metaphysical cousin, fatalism holds that it is not in our power to do anything other than what we actually end up doing.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Cantor’s discovery that lines, planes, cubes, and polytopes were all equivalent as sets of points goes a long way toward explaining why set theory was such a revolutionary development for math-revolutionary in theory and practice both.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The inactive viewer’s screen is the color of way out over the Atlantic looking straight down on a cold day.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s when people begin to fancy that they actually know something about literature that they cease to be literarily interesting, or even of any use to those that are.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “This terror of silence with nothing diverting to do. I can’t think anyone really believes that today’s so-called ‘information society’ is just about information. Everyone knows it’s about something else, way down.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “By the way, I do think that awareness is different from thinking. I am similar to most other people, I believe, in that I do not really do my most important thinking in large, intentional blocks where I sit down uninterrupted in a chair and know in advance what it is I’m going to think about... It doesn’t work like that for me.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “But what of Lenore, of Lenore’s hair? Here is hair that is clearly within and of itself every color – blond and red and jet-black-blue and honeynut – but which effects an outward optical compromise with possibility that consists of appearing simply dull brown, save for brief teasing glimpses out of the corner of one’s eye.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Your personal will is the web your disease sits and spins in. The will you call your own ceased to be yours as of who knows how many Substance-drenched years ago.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It occurred to me that the movement of the amputated knob perfectly schematized what it would look like for someone to try to turn somersaults with one hand nailed to the floor. This was how I first became interested in the possibilities of annulation.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Every two or three generations the world gets vastly different, and the context in which you have to learn how to be a human being, or to have good relationships, or decide whether or not there is a God, or decide whether there’s such a thing as love, and whether it’s redemptive, become vastly different. And the structures with which you can communicate those dilemmas, or have characters struggle with them, seem to become appropriate and then inappropriate again and so on.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Apparently the term refugee can be plausibly denied if both – I’m quoting direct from Neil’s memo here – if both, a, no homemade wagons piled high with worldly goods are pulled by slow bovine animals with curvy horns, and b, if the percentage of children under six who are either, a, naked, or b, squalling at the top of their lungs, or c, both, is under 20% of the total number of children under six in transit.”
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