Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Quote of the Day (David Foster Wallace, on Dangers in Different Forms of Worship)

“Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things—if they are where you tap real meaning in life—then you will never have enough…. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you….Worship power—you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart—you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.”—American fiction writer and essayist David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College, reprinted as This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life (2009)

Thanks to my friend Holly for steering me towards this quote.

(The image accompanying this post, of David Foster Wallace at a reading for Booksmith at All Saints Church, was taken Jan. 16, 2006, and originally posted to Flickr by Steve Rhodes.)

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