“There are a lot of ways to define people, but I’ll give you two that are relevant today. There are people that prefer to deal with people voluntarily, and there are those who prefer to use force”
― Doug Casey.
Chapter Twelve opens with Steeply an Marathe retaking their never-boring conversation, and as usual, the positions of the two protagonists could not be further apart.
This time, the theme of the evening was the right to choose.
Free To Be You and Me
While Steeply seems in favor of personal responsibility, and the personal choice for each person to chose what to do with their lives. Marathe on the other hand, tries to argue that the human species is flawed and thus shouldn’t be allowed any freedoms of choice.
The flaws of the human race, the last refuge of man with no answers nor arguments.
An age old slogan behind the which certain people try to hide their need to force other people to live the same way they do.
Lost and with lacking of any valid arguments, Marathe asks Steeply to imagine that they found some delicious can of soup in between them.
Then he uses that soup allegory to try to convince Steeply that if the can was effectively there, then the two men would inevitably end up fighting for it, because quite simply it’s human nature.
Steeply assures him that not everyone is the same and that there are many ways to resolve such a dispute in a totally voluntary manner, such as barter, sharing, or depending on who found the can first, they could reach a peaceful agreement.
Marathe of course wouldn’t hear of it as he is being driven by certain instincts that shape his decisions, not only that and he already found a rhetoric that he reinforces those instincts, which that humans will always use force, and thus they need either a strong man figure, or some draconian totalitarian regime to keep everyone on the line.
There is nothing wrong in wanting to be free from choice and responsibility and to seek rigid rules to define your life, it’s his choice. The problem however, is when people like Marathe decide that they want everyone else to succumb to the same.
Steeply could not disagree more and finishes with an emotional monologue in which he appeals to the individual’s right to choose to be free, to be free, from force as he calls it.
“Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.”*
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
For more details, here’s the recording to the entire session Last week’s meeting:
Details for the next meeting:
Book: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Reading Assignment: Chapter Twelve “YEAR OF THE DEPEND ADULT UNDER-GARMENT” (pages 450-489)
Date: Monday, June 5th
Start Time: 6:00 p.m. PST / 9 p.m. EST / 2 a.m. GMT
Call Length: One hour.
Phone Access: (800) 719-6100 or (218) 339-7800, access code 629-1831#
Web Audio Access (sound quality isn't generally as good as phone): https://hello.freeconference.com/conf/call/6291831
P.S. You can these links to help guide you as you read Infinite Jest:
http://faculty.sunydutchess.edu/oneill/Infinite.htm (THIS LINK HAS SPOILERS)