David Foster Wallace's Analysis

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David Foster Wallace argues that reality can be mundane. However, if people focus on what others are going through, then they can learn to empathize and understand humanity better. A behavior is a snap shot of how that person is acting in that moment. There are lots of moments where behaviors may not accurately describe someone. If people are constantly operating unconsciously and only ever taking what they see face value then they are not relating or understanding others; even more what they are thinking about other’s is stereotypical and possibly hurtful. Often people do make these dispositional attributions; or attribute someone’s behavior to their internal state such as their personality, attitude, or character (textbook, p.85). This can…show more content…
Wallace argues that actual thinking and education involves gaining a conscious awareness, often that those around us are in reality just as important as we are. So while people are more likely to attribute behavior to another’s personality, especially if it’s negative, this is far from accurate. This is a big piece to Gilbert’s model if people do not use controlled think or thinking that is effortful, conscious, and intentional (textbook, p.65) to see someone’s situational attribution they are misinterpreting information. This occurs automatically and even involuntary, which is why Wallace referred to it as a default setting. However, even if initially people are making attributions to someone’s internal state, they can change this way of thinking and recognize outside situations. Only if someone is not distracted, because it involves a conscious effort to change these thoughts. Gilbert’s theory argues often people do not get to situational attributions if they are not able to cognitively because of distractions or they do not have the information to infer a situation affected the behavior. However, many people, as Wallace states, may not get to this step in the model because they simply do not care to see outside themselves at that moment. It can be extremely difficult for people to see past their own situation in the first place, especially in irritating situations like heavy traffic or a busy grocery store. It’s much harder to realize that there are external circumstances in everyone’s lives, especially when they are not seen
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