Quote Time 7

We’re all—especially those of us who are educated and have read a lot and have watched TV critically—in a very self-conscious and sort of worldly and sophisticated time, but also a time when we seem terribly afraid of other people’s reactions to us and very desperate to control how people in- terpret us. Everyone is extremely conscious of manipulating how they come off in the media; they want to structure what they say so that the reader or audience will interpret it in the way that is most favorable to them. What’s interesting to me is that this isn’t all that new. This was the project of the Sophists in Athens, and this is what Socrates and Plato thought was so completely evil. The Sophists had this idea: Forget this idea of what’s true or not—what you want to do is rhetoric; you want to be able to persuade the audience and have the audience think you’re smart and cool. And Socrates and Plato, basically their whole idea is, “Bullshit. There is such a thing as truth, and it’s not all just how to say what you say so that you get a good job or get laid, or whatever it is people think they want.

– David Foster Wallace

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One Response to Quote Time 7

  1. This quote is unforgivably real.

    However, I have a tift with the statement,”They want to structure what they say so that the reader or audience will interpret it in the way that is most favorable to them.” “Regular people” are desperate to control interpretations of their “public image” because of the potentially terrible ramifications of misinterpretations. For example, me hiding my atheism from my mom by not having it on my Facebook profile and me refraining from telling certain jokes on my Facebook fan page to avoid being labeled a bigot (when I might possibly be one) are two different things. The former is me trying to structure my image in a way that is less harmful to me and the latter is me trying to structure my image in a way that is more favorable to me. Self-preservation and self-benefit are similar, but not equivalent. Nevertheless, tn the end, “truth” is still being shunned, which is probably bad, but I think it is more understandable in the first scenario.

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