Posts Tagged ‘This Is Water: Some Thoughts’

This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life, by David Foster Wallace

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life, by David Foster Wallace Find this book in our catalog

Author David Foster Wallace recently passed away tragically in 2008, but his commencement speech to the graduating students of Kenyon College in 2005 preserves something of his integrity and ideals and offers much to us, who were not there to hear his message ourselves. Wallace defines in just a few words the utter importance of a liberal arts education, explaining that such an education bestows upon a student not so much the capacity to think, as the ability to choose what to think about. The difference is keen and of the utmost importance. If we, wrapped up in our everyday world, choose to step outside of our own lives and consider others around us, if we in our day-to-day lives choose to experience not so much our own egocentricity as the possibility of another’s self, we just might understand the essence of compassion. He argues for the importance of freedom, but freedom of a special kind, one we may not have considered before – the freedom to be aware of, to pay attention to, and truly to care about those around us, especially those whom we do not know, the everyday, anonymous human beings, who pass us by without our ever really noticing them, much less caring about them. What makes all the difference is truly seeing them and in this way feeling compassion for them. Wallace’s message is clear and succinct. We are fortunate to have it preserved for us to carry with us from this day on.

Submitted by D. L. S.