This is Water – David Foster Wallace Commencement speech

This is an incredible speech given by one of the great minds of our time. In it, Wallace talks about what it truly means to ‘learn how to think’ and how in doing so we can achieve what he claims to be the hardest thing we will do in our adult lives: to remain conscious and vibrant well into adulthood despite the monotony of routine.

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2 responses to “This is Water – David Foster Wallace Commencement speech”

  1. gatito2 says :

    Unfortunately that video is no longer available. I would have liked to have seen it. I’m sure you know he made this quote

    “The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
    — David Foster Wallace

    I think that’s a pretty accurate analogy. My daughter took her own life and I imagine that is how she felt. I also know how it feels. Wallace went on to kill himself as I’m sure you know. Very sad.

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