Saturday, June 20, 2020

Infinite Jest

A huge and widely acclaimed novel by David Foster Wallace -- deceased by his own hand, or in his terms, "he eliminated his own map". His version of "hope" would seem to be that this life is all there is. The only thing the book makes "clear" is that human life is a maddeningly meaningless "jest", and that the endless search for entertainment, escape, diversion, pleasure, etc is most likely to make it even more nasty.

Somehow, reading "The Secular Age", another gigantic book, led me to Jest ... I first tried a cliff notes version of Secular Age in "How To Not Be Secular", however I felt I needed the "real deal", so ended up jumping off that cliff as I did with Jest.

I started reading Jest because of the Corona lock-down terror -- a surreal time seemed appropriate to take up a surreal, long, difficult work. Then came the BLM riots, "cancel the police", the building of our addition project started, and then my dad died. It was NOT "an appropriate time" ... although the fact that Wallace was plagued by anxiety, depression and panic attacks, as I have been, made the surreal somewhat too real.

Not a book to be recommended unless grotesque, pointless, highly detailed despair is something that appeals to you!

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