No word is enough to describe David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. It is a colossal and labyrinthine work that is a challenge to read. Nevertheless, all dedicated readers choose to walk the road less taken, choosing to immerse in its very fabric, undaunted by the difficulties but what are difficulties for anyway other than enhancing one’s reading experience? At least for some, that is because it is something that can easily be imposed to everyone. I admit, this book is not to my taste but I was nonetheless riveted, amazed by Wallace’s body of work. In its challenging mantra did it shine the brightest.
Oh heck, enough of my babble; I am deviating too much. As can be expected from such a great work, it is filled with several thought-provoking quotes that sum up the profoundness of several ideals touching base on different subjects such as life, substance-abuse and mental health. Through my reading journey, I was able to pick up some of these quotes. Here are some of them. I hope you get to enjoy it as well.
If you haven’t read my review yet of this magnificent literary piece, you may click here.
“It now lately sometimes seemed a black miracle to me that people could actually care deeply about a subject or pursuit, and could go on caring this way for years on end. Could dedicate their entire lives to it. It seemed admirable and at the same time pathetic. We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe.” ~ David Foster Wallace Infinite Jest
“That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt. That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That it is possible to fall asleep during an anxiety attack. That concentrating on anything is very hard work.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“What if sometimes there is no choice about what to love? What if the temple comes to Mohammed? What if you just love? Without deciding? You just do: do you see her and in that instant are lost to sober account-keeping and cannot choose but to love?” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“It is tragic and sad and chaotic and lovely. All life is the same, as citizens of the human state: the animating limits are within, to be killed and mourned, over and over again.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“One of the positives of being visibly damaged is that people can sometimes forget you’re there, even when they’re interfacing with you. You almost get to eavesdrop. It’s almost like they’re like: If nobody’s really in there, there’s nothing to be shy about.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“Which is why tennis is an essentially tragic enterprise, to improve and grow as a serious junior, with ambitions. You seek to vanquish and transcend the limited self whose limits make the game possible in the first place.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“These worst mornings with cold floors and hot windows and merciless light – the soul’s certainty that the day will have to be not traversed but sort of climbed, vertically, and then that going to sleep again at the end of it will be like falling, again, off something tall and sheer.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“The thing about people who are truly and malignantly crazy: their real genius is for making the people around them think they themselves are crazy. In military science this is called PSY-OPS, for your info.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“To be envied, admired, is not a feeling. Nor is fame it feeling. There are feelings associated with fame, but few of them are any more enjoyable than the feelings associated with envy of fame.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“He didn’t reject the idea so much as not react to it and watch as it floated away. He thought very broadly of desires and ideas being watched but not acted upon, he thought of impulses being starved of expression and dying out and floating dryly away.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“When people call it that I always get pissed off because I always think depression sounds like you just get like really sad, you get quiet and melancholy and just like sit quietly by the window sighing or just lying around. A state of not caring about anything. A kind of blue kind of peaceful state.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“Some persons can give themselves away to an ambitious pursuit and have that be all the giving-themselves-away-to-something they need to do. Though sometimes this changes as the players get older and the pursuit more stress-fraught. American experience seems to suggest that people are virtually unlimited in their need to give themselves away, on various levels. Some just prefer to do it in secret.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“Destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an alley with some sort of ‘psst’ that you usually can’t even hear because you’re in such a rush to or from something important you’ve tried to engineer.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“For some reason now I am thinking of the sort of philanthropist who seems humanly repellent not in spite of his charity but because of it: on some level you can tell that he views the recipients of his charity not as persons so much as pieces of exercise equipment on which he can develop and demonstrate his own virtue. What’s creepy and repellent is that this sort of philanthropist clearly needs privation and suffering to continue, since it is his own virtue he prizes, instead of the ends to which the virtue is ostensibly directed.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“Attachments are of great seriousness. Choose your attachments carefully. Choose your temple of fanaticism with great care. What you wish to sing of as tragic love is an attachment not carefully chosen. Die for one person? This is a craziness. Persons change, leave, die, become ill. They leave, lie, go mad, have sickness, betray you, die. Your nation outlives you. A cause outlives you.” ~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
And that ends my list. How about you reader, what lines struck you while reading Wallace’ timeless masterpiece? Share it in the comment box.