Water.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Megan and I recently reread David Foster Wallace's 2005 commencement speech "This Is Water" - whether you've read it before or are seeing it for the first time, I thought I'd share an excerpt today. I remember reading this bit for the first time years ago and thinking, someone just explained the meaning of life.


"The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing...The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death. It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness."
Read the full speech, here, and have a wonderful Wednesday. (See also: George Saunders on kindness; Jonathan Safran Foer on being attentive.)

Photo by Max Wanger.

11 comments:

girlseeksplace said...

The world has lost some utterly brilliant people.

nicole said...

Incredible. Thanks for sharing.

Loulou said...

Thanks for this Sho. I'm off to read the whole speech now.

Anonymous said...

I love this but haven't revisited it in a while. Thanks for the reminder.

Shoko said...

Loulou, let me know what you think!

Amy said...

this was really nice to read on such a reflective day. sending it to my friends now.

Kathy said...

I love this speech so much. I remember the very first time I read it, I felt like I had been given the answer or understanding to so many things. I haven't read this in its entirety in a while, so it felt wonderful to revisit. It made me think of your POVs and how your writing and experiences are such great examples of embracing life and not living according to default settings.

Fai said...

i just finished reading the speech. very thought provoking. thank you shoko for sharing.

Shoko said...

Kathy, what a compliment. Thank you!

dee said...

Wow. Just wow. Automatically evernoted. Thank you for sharing this. This is my first time reading it.

Shoko said...

Dee, so happy you liked it.

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