In the Direction of Kindness.

Friday, August 2, 2013

George Saunders's Syracuse University convocation speech - published three days ago in The New York Times - is one of the best things I've read all year. Possibly ever. It may be old news by now, but take a look if you haven't already. It's brilliant and thoughtful and funny - the perfect way to start a weekend, a new month, a new adventure, a new life. Below, my favorite bit, toward the end:


"Do all the other things, the ambitious things – travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness.  Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.  That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been.  Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Theresa’s.  Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place.  Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.
And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been.  I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful."
Read the full speech, here, and have a beautiful, happy weekend. See you Monday.

Photos by Max Wanger.

13 comments:

auste said...

Thank you for sharing this. It was the perfect morning read with my cup of coffee... And, though it might sound strange coming from a perfect stranger, YOU and this beautiful blog of yours, do your part in sharing and spreading kindness (and beauty and inspiration and love)... So thank you.

Rachel @ Existation said...

Awesomesauce x 1 million. I agree with the above commenter, this is the perfect morning read. Muchas gracias, chica.

jacquelyn | lark+linen said...

I 100% third Auste's comment. And now I'm off to read this speech. Chills!

xo

Rooks said...

This is gorgeous. Thanks for posting it. I plan to read it in its entirety next. Also, I have really enjoyed your writing lately. It's always been good and relatable, but lately it's had something extra special about it.

Suzanna said...

oops...that last one posted from my husband's account, I'm pretty sure. :)

Lisa said...

Shoko, I just read the entire speech and couldn't help but tear up. It is indeed a beautiful message, one I want to hold onto and pin it where it can serve as a daily reminder! And I completely agree with Auste :)

Anonymous said...

I love this so much. Thank you.

angela said...

Oh I love that! Happy Friday!

Shoko said...

A big thank you to Auste and to all of you for your very kind words. I'm honored and completely flattered. Thank you.

Mark said...

Perfect words.

Jocy said...

This is just what I need this week. Thanks for sharing!

Paw said...

How lovely.

max said...

beautiful. thanks for sharing.

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