This Is Water: DFW at Kenyon (2005)

David Foster Wallace gave the commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005. The transcript link in the footnote is to an uncut version. The article link is to a page on the Kenyon website that gives some background and includes in a sidebar a link to an edited transcript.

* * *

the takeaway:

We need “way more than luck” to change from individual being, our “natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out” to shared being, a “well-adjusted” setting of being aware of being, with “awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: This is water. This is water.”

It will be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars – compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff’s necessarily true: the only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.
—David Foster Wallace

see also:

the “single dogma” (Hermann Hesse)* – unity (sub-surface or otherwise)


quote :: transcript :: duplicate :: edited :: article :: *search :: communion :: comment

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