This is Water

Here a recommendation for a very powerful commencement speech by David Foster Wallace.

Not the usual hooray you-can-do-it! Go-change-the-world stuff!; but instead a very profound, at times even sombre, but in the end very inspiring message about life besides its glorious moments and the value of education and the capacity to choose and think.

Wallace starts with this story:

“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?”
And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

And then Walles continues in a very unique style to describe how we can loose sight of things -the water- in the day-to-day grind of adult life.

But here kicks in the real value of education: To have a choice, and options, and to decide to see the water.

He ends with these words about what “it” is really about:

“It is about simple awareness-awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: “This is water, this is water.”

I really recommend to listen to or read this unique commencement speech (somewhere you might also find the 9 minute film version).

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