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3

Pain Won't Kill You

commencement address, Kenyon College, May 2011

1
terms
3
notes

a bit about his marriage, and how he fell in love with birds, and how putting yourself in potential danger is the only way to live and love?

Franzen, J. (2012). Pain Won't Kill You. In Franzen, J. Farther Away. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pp. 3-14

(noun) an ultimate end (from Greek)

6

the ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne

—p.6 by Jonathan Franzen
notable
4 years, 5 months ago

the ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne

—p.6 by Jonathan Franzen
notable
4 years, 5 months ago
7

If you dedicate your existence to being likable, however, and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen, it suggests that you've despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level contempt for these people, because they've fallen for your shtick. Those people exist to make you feel good about yourself, but how good can your feeling be when it's provided by people you don't respect? [...]

—p.7 by Jonathan Franzen 4 years, 5 months ago

If you dedicate your existence to being likable, however, and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen, it suggests that you've despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level contempt for these people, because they've fallen for your shtick. Those people exist to make you feel good about yourself, but how good can your feeling be when it's provided by people you don't respect? [...]

—p.7 by Jonathan Franzen 4 years, 5 months ago
9

[...] What love is really about is a bottomless empathy, born out of the heart's revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self's own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with their struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.

he goes on to explain how he met his first wife: in a literary theory seminar as a senior in college

—p.9 by Jonathan Franzen 4 years, 5 months ago

[...] What love is really about is a bottomless empathy, born out of the heart's revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self's own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with their struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.

he goes on to explain how he met his first wife: in a literary theory seminar as a senior in college

—p.9 by Jonathan Franzen 4 years, 5 months ago
11

[...] pain hurts, but it doesn't kill. When you consider the alternative--an anesthetized dream of self-sufficiency, abetted by technology--pain emerges as the natural product and natural indicator of being alive in a resistant world. To go through a life painlessly is not to have lived. Even just to say to yourself, "Oh, I'll get to that love and pain stuff later, maybe in my thirties," is to consign yourself to ten years of merely taking up space on the planet and burning up its resources. Of being (and I mean this in the most damning sense of the word) a consumer.

he goes on to talk another love of his--birds--and how that was a gateway to pain, or something

—p.11 by Jonathan Franzen 4 years, 5 months ago

[...] pain hurts, but it doesn't kill. When you consider the alternative--an anesthetized dream of self-sufficiency, abetted by technology--pain emerges as the natural product and natural indicator of being alive in a resistant world. To go through a life painlessly is not to have lived. Even just to say to yourself, "Oh, I'll get to that love and pain stuff later, maybe in my thirties," is to consign yourself to ten years of merely taking up space on the planet and burning up its resources. Of being (and I mean this in the most damning sense of the word) a consumer.

he goes on to talk another love of his--birds--and how that was a gateway to pain, or something

—p.11 by Jonathan Franzen 4 years, 5 months ago