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On Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

A trenchant piece that almost gets to the heart of the paradox - one that is not unique to those of us who have been diagnosed as "clinically depressed" or accused of being "smart" - inherent in our consciousness ("alive right now, conscious, though no one knows why"), one that is expressed in this quote that has always nagged me:

“The mountains, rivers, forest and the elements that gird them round about would be only blank conditions of matter if the mind did not fling its own divinity around them.”

–from an article entitled Imagination and Fact (writer unknown) in Graham’s Magazine (not dated, but referenced by Walt Whitman in his Notes and Fragments and ascribed to approximately “the fifties” - that would be the eighteen fifties)

Your essay is a wonderfully written and researched piece about someone who has touched so many of his fellow humans simply because he wrote about being human in ways that were funny, painful, perspicacious, frightening, occasionally very wrong, and always challenging.

At times reading this, thinking of you alone with these materials researching, I could not help thinking of Nietzsche's quote: "...when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Thanks for taking the risk.

Posted on April 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm 1