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Paragraph for the day

From Ben Casnocha’s blog, an excerpt from a David Foster Wallace story:

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 there was also a good possibility that, when all was said and done, I was nothing but just another fast-track yuppie who couldn’t love, and that I found the banality of this unendurable, largely because I was evidently so hollow and insecure that I had a pathological need to see myself as somehow exceptional or outstanding at all times.

  1. January 4, 2010 at 10:17 am

    nice quote, I like 🙂

  2. January 5, 2010 at 5:21 am

    I suppose its a self-preservation mechanism more than anything else. If one doesnt think of oneself as important and special, then one wont take all that extra effort to go on living.

    Very interesting, I’m gonna try and read the rest of this story.

    • January 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm

      I think the self-preservation instinct is more hard wire while status seeking behavior is more learnt. Perhaps unawoken can talk more about this, he has read a lot more than I have.

  3. January 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    @mohit status seeking behavior is not learnt! far from it! this is why kids want attention, display sibling rivalry, want to monopolise parental resources, and teenagers rebel, and young adults reject authority and structure

    • January 7, 2010 at 1:38 am

      unawoken, isn’t there a difference between attention seeking and status seeking?

      • January 7, 2010 at 1:45 am

        Mohit, yep I didn’t mean that they are the same. What I meant was that kids seek attention partly because they perceive themselves to be lower status and are driven to ask for more status.

  4. Kriti
    January 10, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Incredible quotation. Descriptive, I daresay, of most of us.

    • January 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm

      Kriti, yeah it hit too close to home for me.

  5. January 13, 2010 at 6:13 am

    I think a large portion of our actions and beliefs are directed towards trying to convince ourselves and others that our lives matter. In this process only have we been able to believe and propagate myriads of lies as truths.

    It is this instinct that drives us to want to believe in a God. We want a ‘witness’ to our lives to whom our lives would make a difference. Likewise, we want someone to love us, which is a circular way of seeking assurance that our lives make a difference to one loving us.

    It is not only boredom, but living an uninfluential, redundant life that makes us fear living in total isolation (e.g., marooned-on-an-island-situations).

    We also want to believe in afterlife (not just reincarnation) because accepting that ‘everything’ ends with death would make the entire process of living useless (as talked of by TUIB).

    And somehow, almost everyone wants to seem to be ‘more’ significant in any given situation because accepting someone else to be more significant would make our lives seem relatively redundant (dispensable) – be it topping in a class test (being more significant than all other students in the class) or the exclusivity one seeks from one’s lover (being more significant to one’s love-interest than ALL other humans)!

    There are too many generalizations in my comment, but hope I have been able to demonstrate the connection. 🙂

    Impressive observation by the author, and so was your choice!


    • January 13, 2010 at 11:47 am

      Nice comment Ketan, I hope to read more of your comments

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