David Foster Wallace–an Apology.

In all the comments I’ve read springing up all over the Net like weeds upon the writer’s passage, the repeated mention of the pain he must’ve suffered seems a most arrogant presumption. To intimate or assume he was in the throes of some self-induced torture that he alone was responsible for is the epitome of arrogance.

Unmentioned remains the possibility, however far-fetched to some, that it was we as a society who caused his mortal wound, we who failed him and not the other way around. We have not shown the slightest inclination as a society to think, or to turn toward thinking and great thoughts, nor do we venerate intellect or intelligence. Quite the opposite.

I submit that he merely saw our ultimate end, and that end stole the last shred of hope, and by accepting that hope is dead, our lack of action, our unwillingness to change, our disinclination toward anything remotely resembling reason or common sense killed him.

When brilliant minds shine their lights on the changes we as a society must make to advance in a positive manner, yet we give only lip service to, or outright refuse, any real effort, what else can then follow? What further wisdom can be imparted that, without dissolving into nagging criticisms or continued harping, will convince us to act upon the truths to which we so often and publicly agree?

Not even death in so tragic a manner appears to disturb the course of this world or the fates of its people. We register our pain, our sorrow to be seen and acknowledged by those around us; in our public sympathies, in our shows of empathy, we mourn for his family and friends; and yet at first opportunity, we run back to our addictions, our self-indulgences, and never mention between ourselves or in any public venue that his death may have, indeed, been our collective fault, his passing or that of any other brilliant sensitive mind the result of our increasingly poor choices, his decision to leave this shallowing world in a time and manner of his own choosing reflective only of the absence of hope in the future of all of us as a whole.

Herein lies the real tragedy–that all but a thinking few will ever acknowledge, or even accept, that maybe we owe Dave and other brilliant souls lost in a similar manner an apology.

I am sorry, Dave. Truly. I will not, from this moment on, fail to encourage thinking, to spread kindness and hope, to try in every way, however large or small, to change the fate of this world, wherever and whenever I can. For all you gave us, we owe you that much at least.

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One Response to “David Foster Wallace–an Apology.”

  1. B J Keltz Says:

    Thank you for your post. I’ve often wondered about the effects society has on the brilliant but sensitive minds of our time…something covered a little bit in the movie A Beautiful Mind. It seems we mostly pay lip service to the most profound truths without internalizing any of the message. 😦

    B J Keltz

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