Fraudulence Paradox & Binging

The idea that another way of looking at the Fraudulence Paradox is that it’s a condition of exceptional virtue which is, however, periodically subject to extreme collapses.* In the story Good Old Neon, this collapse takes the form of suicide, but perhaps that is just the most dramatic example of the shut down of one’s desire to impress, and that binge eating (or drinking or shopping) is a more everyday version of the same principle. A shut down of the desire to impress: “In the same measure that I have had to pretend I am something special I’m now going to demonstrate, and with a ridiculous emphasis, that I’m not.)

(The Fraudulence Paradox –scroll to bottom– is an idea of David Foster Wallace in his story Good Old Neon. It describes a vicious cycle in which a person, feeling emotionally empty, earns the admiration of others through his impressive behavior, yet knowing his impressive behavior is just a put on, their admiration makes him feel only more empty. They’ve been fooled into admiring the person; they aren’t appreciating the person himself… You can find it defined in his own words at the link.)

* Perhaps this is how the fraudulence paradox would be viewed from the vantage of one seeing it in another person, rather than seeing it in oneself.


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