David foster wallace commencement speech. 'This Is Water': Complete Audio of David Foster Wallace's Kenyon Graduation Speech (2005) 2019-01-05

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David Foster Wallace

david foster wallace commencement speech

There is, moreover, a blind arrogance in the belief that what you primarily owe the world is your sincerity: the gift of your outspoken, unmediated self, your willingness to be the most you that you can be. Another debate on the published format is over a slight rewrite. The capital-T Truth is about life before death. Words: 799 - Pages: 4. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down. It was less than two hours before commencement, and Wallace was ensconced in a room in the cottage that housed Kenyon's English department. If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider.


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David Foster Wallace on Life and Work

david foster wallace commencement speech

Commencement speeches are usually forgotten as soon as they're delivered. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger. Darby Farrish English 112 11, Sept. Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. Throughout my summer, I spent most of my days working at a hotel pool dealing with a variety of infuriated, impatient, and overall just unpleasant guests.

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David Foster Wallace's Kenyon College speech might be the best of all time

david foster wallace commencement speech

Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. There is no such thing as not worshipping. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. It's the end of the workday, and the traffic's very bad, so getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it's the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping, and the store's hideously, fluorescently lit, and infused with soul-killing Muzak or corporate pop, and it's pretty much the last place you want to be, but you can't just get in and quickly out. By way of example, let's say it's an average day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging job, and you work hard for nine or ten hours, and at the end of the day you're tired, and you're stressed out, and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for a couple of hours and then hit the rack early because you have to get up the next day and do it all again. It is my natural default setting. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying.

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David Foster Wallace: The Greatest Commencement Speech of All Time

david foster wallace commencement speech

That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing comes in. But you can't take your frustration out on the frantic lady working the register, who is overworked at a job whose daily tedium and meaninglessness surpasses the imagination of any of us here at a prestigious college. Be sure to use examples that are not taken from the speech to support your agreement or disagreement. Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. One of the guys is religious, the other is an atheist, and the two are arguing about the existence of God with that special intensity that comes after about the fourth beer. Manecke learned Wallace had gotten married recently and had once lived in Arizona, but was now in California teaching at Pomona.

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David Foster Wallace's Kenyon College speech might be the best of all time

david foster wallace commencement speech

Nugent noticed how easily and graciously Wallace spoke with each person who approached him. Wallace's sister, Amy, said she doesn't remember her brother mentioning he would be giving Kenyon's commencement address until a week before he did it. But most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-lady who just screamed at her little child in the checkout line-maybe she's not usually like this; maybe she's been up three straight nights holding the hand of her husband who's dying of bone cancer, or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the Motor Vehicles Department who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a nightmarish red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don't make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I'm going to be pissed and miserable every time I have to foodshop, because my natural default-setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me, about my hungriness and my fatigue and my desire to just get home, and it's going to seem, for all the world, like everybody else is just in my way, and who are all these people in my way? They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense.


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is by David Foster Wallace

david foster wallace commencement speech

In conclusion, a real college education is not defined by any amount of knowledge. True, there are plenty of religious people who seem arrogant and certain of their own interpretations, too. We must choose what desires we give focus to and choose what we worship. A political science major on the committee asked who he was. This question gets very tricky.

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David Foster Wallace on Life and Work

david foster wallace commencement speech

That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. It is taught in high schools and colleges, and regularly included in of the. And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. The isolationists wanted the country to stay out of the war at almost any cost. Words: 1235 - Pages: 5.


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This is Water by David Foster Wallace (Full Transcript and Audio)

david foster wallace commencement speech

But if you've really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. He then goes on to say that ten years after taking the class, when designing the first Macintosh computer, he was able to draw from his memory all that he had learned from the calligraphy class he took and as a result create the first personal computer with beautiful typography. It's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self. By way of example, let's say it's an average adult day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging, white-collar, college-graduate job, and you work hard for eight or ten hours, and at the end of the day you're tired and somewhat stressed and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for an hour, and then hit the sack early because, of course, you have to get up the next day and do it all again. Words: 1156 - Pages: 5. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. By the time of the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the 7th century the camel had changed the ancient more irregular trade routes into a trade network running from Morocco to the Niger river.

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