Acquisition vs. Transaction Utility


Perceived Value, Hidden in Plain Sight

In his legendary 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College, David Foster Wallace riffed on the melodramatic moments of adulthood, emphasizing that life after graduation is not uplifting and vibrant but filled with “boredom, routine, and petty frustration.” He describes the checkout line in a crowded grocery store during the end-of-the-day rush. “You finally get to the front, and you pay for your food, and you get told to ‘Have a nice day’ in a voice that is the absolute voice of death.” Wallace’s speech is a hallmark of postmodern thinking. Instead of pivoting off rousing anecdotes and graduation clichés, he describes the sad loneliness of adult life, stressing that we must use what we learn in school to construct meaning for ourselves. ….[READ]


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