Quality Quotes #1

Dating back to my earliest grad school days, I have made myself responsible for periodically posting a quality quote on the office white board.  I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to make that a regular feature here, especially when I’ve noticed many of our fellow Bloggers doing so.  But today I came across a great quote while reading the 2016 novel Heroes of the Frontier.  It’s so profoundly appropriate to life in 21st-century America and the phenomenon of fake news that I can’t help but share it.

“This could be the cause of all modern neurosis[;] . . . the fact that we have no immovable identity, no hard facts.  That everything we know as foundational truth is subject to change.”
Dave Eggers

What do y’all think?

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11 thoughts on “Quality Quotes #1

  1. Ooh, that one is profound! It’s so true–even the most seemingly fundamental ideas (physics, identity, beliefs) are subject to change, and the only way we can ever hope to move forward in life is to accept (or even embrace) that change is part of the contract we signed when we came into this world. 🙂

    P.S. Love the quote idea! I’d love to see more in the future.

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  2. I think it’s sloppy thinking. Truth is out there (ha ha but I mean it) and we do have hard facts. It’s our job — has always been our job — to search for hard facts we don’t have. IMO skepticism is a virtue. Not everything is a variable or a matter of opinion. That we make it so, or create a moral issue out of something that is supported by real facts (i.e. vaccinating kids is wrong and unnecessary) is completely different from the Truth being subject to change.

    As for Fake News — I’m stunned every day by the amount of conjecture that is put out as news, eg. “Something May Happen” that’s certainly not untrue, but it’s also not news. It just keeps the pot boiling and the people worked up.

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    1. I understand why you’d call it sloppy thinking. In Eggers’s defense, though, it’s entirely appropriate to the protagonist who utters the thought. She had a difficult childhood, an unconventional adolescence & young adulthood, and has recently suffered the unjust loss of her business as well as the abdication of the spineless father of her children; in short, her life has been turned upside down, and her mind is, to say the least, badly unsettled if not wholly fractured. I believe it’s appropriate to our current situation because too many people accept too many of the falsehoods as fact without questioning the source.

      Thanks for your comment. In responding to you, something caused me to remember what Thomas Merton said about the subject–in 1968— and that I think will be my Quality Quotes #3. Stay tuned!

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      1. Accepting a falsehood does not equal a fundamental alteration of facts. And then there’s the question; anything I say might be appropriate to me but total bullshit in and of itself. I think that happens a lot 😉

        I’d accept this edited version, though…

        “This could be the cause of MUCH modern neurosis[;] . . . the fact that MANY have no immovable identity, AND DO NOT SEEK THE hard facts, PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE EVEN PROVABLE foundational truth is subject to change.”
        —Dave Eggers

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That and the current state of societal affairs. I agree, words do matter. I was just having a discussion with another Blogger the other day about the lax standards in the established print media these days. It really gets on my nerves, being a grammar snob & all.

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      3. I guess after 30+ years teaching writing, I no longer expect good grammar, so it matters less to me than do the meanings of the words we use. I actually ended a FB friendship with a real life friend over her insistence that my hip prosthesis AUGMENTED my mobility. I said, “No, it restored it.” She ARGUED saying it “Augmented” it. I was really pissed off. First, I don’t think you argue with the person who actually HAD the surgery about the results, and, second, “augment” does not begin to describe the reality. I was most angry over her insistence on using an inaccurate term. I still like her in real life, though. I think my career warped me…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a tough one, Denny. Every morning (well most mornings!) I repeat a mantra, “May I use words that speak the truth from my perspective; my listen to the perspectives of others.” So often I see that my perspective is so different than even people with whom I share most values (like my husband). I have to be ok with others having a different perspective (which I often call ‘path’). Really, how could anyone see the world quite like me given my specific DNA and specific set of environmental exposure. So I am not sure I really do think there are objective ‘facts’ which is a slippery position considering the current US president who changes his mind on his perspective, his ‘path’ on a whim. I guess what I am saying is that truth should be something a person considers thoughtfully and maintains until new information illuminates a need for a shift in beliefs. Not just a flip flopping from ‘truth’ to ‘truth’ for purposes of victory or manipulation. Does that make sense? (I feel like I was wishy washy a bit myself.)

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