My friend Erin sent me a link to this way back in the middle of October and I just now got around to reading it. (Sorry Erin). It is very interesting, but I am still thinking about it, and have not quite yet landed on anything yet. Here is a sample, which you can click on to read the whole thing:
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.
I find myself now also thinking hard about WHY Erin sent me this link. Is it because I was moved by Wallace's suicide, without actually having read anything he had written? He mentions suicide in the speech, which is kind of evil -- the whole thing rings strangely now, because you get the feeling that his chemicals or whatever prevented him from seeing the world the way he suggested it should be seen -- or he did see it that way and there was something terribly overwhelming in the vision? Because it required some awful strength none of us have? Or did she send it to me because she knows perfectly well that I am a bit obsessed with "the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing." Of course I worship all the wrong things, and suffer the results, as Wallace suggests, but he suffered too, obviously.
I do deeply admire that he discusses, at a commencement address, the dreariness of day to day adult life, and attempts to help. That is frankly an amazing gesture.