speed

Where was my student going? He was no doubt heading into a more turbocharged version of his summer, a life of supreme intensity created in collaboration with the laptop slung over his shoulder. For his student generation is a singular one, at least in my experience of 30 or so years teaching: Its members have a spectacular hunger for life and more life. They want to study, travel, make friends, make more friends, read everything (superfast), take in all the movies, listen to every hot band, keep up with everyone they’ve ever known. And there’s something else, too, that distinguishes them: They live to multiply possibilities. They’re enemies of closure. For as much as they want to do and actually manage to do, they always strive to keep their options open, never to shut possibilities down before they have to.

The moment of maximum Internet pleasure was not the moment of closure, where you sealed the deal; it was the moment when the choices had been multiplied to the highest sum. It was the moment of maximum promise

The primary reason to study Blake and Dickinson and Freud and Dickens is not to become more cultivated, or more articulate, or to be someone who at a cocktail party is never embarrassed (but can embarrass others). The ultimate reason to read them is to see if they may know you better than you know yourself.

-Mark Edmundson “Dwelling in Possibilities” The Chronicle of Higher Education

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