“This is Water”

About 8 years ago, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. What transpired was a commencement speech unlike most, where the author chose a tonal simplicity, and spoke about the difficulty of empathy, the importance of being well adjusted, and the essential lonesomeness of adult life.

The speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, and after his tragic suicide. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice I’ve ever come across – simple, elegant and engaging. Kudos to The Glossary for creating this wonderful video.

While David Foster Wallace did take his own life, none of the cloudlessly sane and true things he had to say about life in 2005 are any less sane or true today. The pain of Wallace’s defeat will stay with us, and nothing, not even “This is Water”, could lessen the blow of that loss. But what this video and the message of his speech does is remind us of the author’s essential goodness and human decency – something I believe we all share, and something that we can never allow to be taken from us.

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