Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On the Particular and Universal

Daniel Harris in 2002, from A Memoir of No One in Particular:
But as I began to write, I found myself asking if it wasn't a little disingenuous of me to pretend that I was "no one in particular,” if my experience of life was as universal as it should be for such a project, and if a statistical sampling of one—and a somewhat idiosyncratic statistic at that—was sufficient to draw credible conclusions about our most mundane behaviors. It became increasingly apparent that I was an unlikely guinea pig for my anthropological study, that the way I live only occasionally reflects the way the majority of people live, that an effete homosexual who spends six days of the week reading and writing, who lounges around for most of his waking hours in his house robe and pajamas, and who ekes out a subsistence living working one long shift as a word processor, scraping by in America's most expensive city, may not, in the final analysis, be an ideal candidate for the starring role of Everyman.
Against or in support of Montaigne: "Every man has within himself the entire human condition"?
From the dust jacket of A Memoir of No One in Particular

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