Monday, February 9, 2009

My Favorite Paragraph of Ben's Favorite Paragraphs from Infinite Jest

It's about the false feeling of security and uniqueness that affects college students and addicts:
People of a certain age and level of like life-experience believe they're immortal: college students and alcoholics/addicts are the worst: they deep-down believe they're exempt from the laws of physics and statistics that ironly govern everybody else. They'll piss and moan your ear off if somebody else fucks with the rules, but they don't deep down see themselves subject to them, the same rules. And they're constitutionally unable to learn from anybody else's experience: if some jaywalking B.U. student does get his car towed, your other student's or addict's response to this will be to ponder just what imponderable difference makes it possible for that other guy to get splattered or towed and not him, the ponderer. They never doubt the difference -- they just ponder it. It's like a kind of idolatry of uniqueness.
It is indeed hard to grasp the statistical truth of these situations, and it is easy to turn to assume that people are different from you when bad things happen to them. But we must resist this!

If you liked this paragraph, you might consider checking out the rest of Ben's post, because face it, there's no way you'll get around to reading the actual book.