Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thought of the Year

We get to choose the reality we perceive.

It's only November, but I have a feeling that this one is going to win out.

When I learn about a book that interests me, I add it to my Amazon wish list. What I don't do is record who pointed me to it. I get a lot of my recommendations from Farnam Street, Five Books and the New York Times, but also from friends and the blogosphere.

I can't say who pointed me to David Foster Wallace's 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College, or that it qualifies as a book (though Amazon fooled me into thinking so), but it is definitely worth reading.
The thing is that, of course, there are totally different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it's not impossible that some of these people in SUV's have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive. Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he's trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he's in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.
Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket's checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.
wish the OG would take a look at it, but nothing is more likely to fail than a parental referral of something in print. I may leave a copy with "CHILDREN: DO NOT READ!" around the house when I'm home.

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