david foster wallace

The author David Foster Wallace ended his own life on this day in 2008.  I have never read any of his works and although I have heard the title of one of his works – Infinite Jest, I have never really paid too much attention to it.  I happened to see a story about the anniversary of his death, which mentioned a commencement address he gave in 2005 to the graduates of Kenyon College.  Apparently this speech is quite famous so maybe you have already heard this, but if you have not I would really recommend you give it a listen.

Sure made me feel better about “only” getting a Liberal Arts degree (two in fact!)

It also made me interested in reading his works.  I believe I have heard from others, and I think you can tell from his speech, that he is a quite verbose author which is sometimes quite difficult to absorb, but it seems like it is worth a shot.

Part 1

Part 2

It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. 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.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it.

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.


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