“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.
I know that this stuff probably doesn’t sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational the way a commencement speech is supposed to sound. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are, of course, free to think whatever you wish. But please don’t just dismiss it as just some finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon. None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death.
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; 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.”
In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we’ve ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education. We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested. However, we encourage everyone to seek out the full speech (because, in this case, the book is definitely better than the movie) ~The Glossary
*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Hope for the planet” by Kevin Dooley
“The stars were dancing just for me” by Carl Jones
- Changing Your Perception of the Mundane: David Foster Wallace- “This Is Water” (tomazomc.net)
- This Is Water/Kenyon Commencement Speech-David Foster Wallace (innerthoughtsaboutrandomthings.wordpress.com)
- Rhetorical Précis (capone72794.wordpress.com)
- This is Water (meganpelino.wordpress.com)
- David Foster Wallace’s Kenyon Commencement Speech (sergeofawesomeness.wordpress.com)
- This. Is. Water. (ashleyedodd.wordpress.com)