A whole …more In the hardcover edition, the speech is broken into snippets of about three or four lines and a whole page is dedicated to a single snippet. A whole lot of blank space. That is why. What age would be appropriate for someone to start reading this book? Allie DFW gave this speech for a crowd of graduating college seniors and their families.
Practically, I would say it's a family-friendly read as far as …more DFW gave this speech for a crowd of graduating college seniors and their families. Practically, I would say it's a family-friendly read as far as language, but the content, while overall pretty heartening, can be heavy. It has deep implications about the harsh tediums of adult life.
There are mentions of suicide, atheism, etc. These are all topics addressed by American high school English classes. Intellectually, DFW cuts no corners, but he was giving a speech, so I'm one for thinking this is a little more digestible than his other works. So: what age would be appropriate? I would say probably most high school students would be able to process the content of this speech.
But in my mind, unless they're more thoughtful than most they might not appreciate what DFW has to say about adult life until they go out and live it themselves. Hope that helps! See 2 questions about This Is Water…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 31, Stephen M rated it it was amazing Shelves: tears-of-beautiful-laughter , idiot-heart. David Foster Wallace was a beautiful fucking person who said a lot of beautiful fucking things. View all 47 comments.
Aug 13, Nathan "N. This is Water , like The Communist Manifesto , is an unfortunate document. Both are occasional pieces written for a narrowly prescribed purpose. Both appear to be distillates of a much broader, systematic force of thinking.
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Both are of a genre which have very tight constraints--the commencement speech and the manifesto--which dictate and limit the possibilities for both form and content. Both are widely read by those not familiar with that systematic thought. By not taking into account the genre o This is Water , like The Communist Manifesto , is an unfortunate document. By not taking into account the genre of each or the larger body of work of which each appears to be a precis, both are broadly wrongly evaluated.
The commencement address, as a genre, is perhaps the most kitschy of our literary genres. The genre is a perfect opportunity for DFW to exercise his project of overcoming and moving out from and beyond irony to a second naivete of a direct, sincere, unselfconscious mode of communication. But, as the AA material in Infinite Jest demonstrates, indulging that irony can be deadly. The alternative is to embrace the banal platitude, something for which commencement speeches are designed.
That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Few commencement addresses are remembered, preserved, or subsequently published. To my mind, only Vonnegut has produced a piece as successful within the constraints of the genre. Thus, despite all of our literary puritanism, our anti-market sympathies, it seems appropriate that the Kenyon Commencement Address, a document born as a kitschy occasional piece, would come to be marketed as a kitschy cash-register gift book.
This is only appropriate. Transcript can be found here. Water - Now I love that metaphor. I end up addressing many things and their traits and their progresses and their declines through this unbound source of immense satiation. Ah well, the thoughts weaved into this beautiful message says it all. For a text that I ended up highlighting half of, I would like to take this particular insight with me, forever.
You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship Because here's something else that's true. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it J. Read it. And find your meaning. View all 40 comments. Apr 12, Greg rated it it was amazing Shelves: life-is-shit , essays.
This may come as a surprise to people who know me, but I never read this before it came out in book format. I knew it existed, but like most of the occasional and short pieces by DFW I held off on reading them. At the time his writing came out so infrequently, that I always wanted to have things of his to read at some point in the future, when I would really want something new of his.
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Of course that has changed to their being nothing new to release, except for unpublished things that might see t This may come as a surprise to people who know me, but I never read this before it came out in book format. Of course that has changed to their being nothing new to release, except for unpublished things that might see the light of day.
After his death I heard about the relevance of this speech, but I didn't go out of my way to read it then either.
David Foster Wallace On The Key To Living A Compassionate Life | HuffPost
Now that it's in a nice consumer format I have read it though, something I could have read for free for a few years now. My friend Connor, along with most of the reviews I quickly glanced at, seem obsessed with the format of the book. The format is a little weird. Each page has a sentence on it. It also makes what is probably at most a ten page speech into a page book, which the cynic in me screams out money-grubbing, it also seems like it might be aimed for the upcoming graduation market, trying to get in on the lucrative market that Dr.
I can see the problem with the format of the book, and I agreed until reading it. The one sentence a page format forced me to read the speech slower than I would have. No quickly skimming at points, every line was read as if it was the first line in a chapter. Maybe this is a bit arrogant to make the reader engage a text in this fashion, but I know I'm guilty of quick reading certain parts of a text. I appreciated the format, although I can't say I would like this to become a norm. The book makes two references to suicide, one can read into them what they want. Reading this speech as a suicide note is probably missing a huge chunk of what DFW was really trying to say, but it is impossible for me at least to completely put it out of my head while reading these lines.
Too soon after this speech would be given, he would begin his nosedive depression, and twenty eight or so months later he hung himself. The advice he gives in the speech is in a way a remedy against the destructive thinking that will destroy one self, but it's not an easy remedy, but one that takes a constant awareness to live a life that isn't the mindless death of daily drudgery nor a cancerous and nihilistic solipsism from living a life trapped in the mind.
This book depresses me, in a good way I guess, but it still depresses me. If someone smarter and more successful than me can't manage this kind of Herculean feat of seeing the beautiful and True in the world, what kind of hope do I have? View all 13 comments. Dec 04, MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it Shelves: merkins , non-fiction. Better heard spoken for the full sting. Or is that a little reductive? Anyway—one star for the cash-in and four stars for the speech.
For that sweaty public reading!
This Is Water
DFW scrunchies. For that 80s ponytail look! DFW spectacles. For staring into the soulful eyes of Wallace on Google! Etc and so forth. View all 17 comments. Jul 09, karen rated it it was amazing Shelves: dfw. View all 10 comments. How's the water? To David Foster Wallace, this difficuilt, but most obvious reality was that we, as individual beings, believe ourselves to be the absolute center of the universe.
The way in which we can rid ourself of our self-centeredness, is, in David's opinion through a myriad of little unsexy doings throughout our everyday life. Doing these things will not only make everyone else's life better, but also our own. On the way to the grocery store there is traffic, because of course everyone else had to buy groceries as well. And in front of you there was a a huge SUV that always stayed below the speed limit.
And then, when you got to the grocery store, there was a huge line, and so you had to wait, and you noticed how stupid and silly everyone else in front of you looked, and how useless they all were. And in front of you there was a kid screaming, and the mother was yelling at him. Then, DFW tells us how we can make this common life situation so much easier: Maybe the annoying person in the SUV had just survived a life threatening car accident, and his therapist urged him to buy an SUV as it was the only way he could ever dare to drive again. And maybe the woman screaming at her kid in the grocery store had been awake for over 24 hours taking care of her husband who had lung cancer.
These things are of course unlikely, but the very possibility of it makes it worth considering. Maybe if we realized that these everyday actions were just as annoying to everyone else, our life would be so much easier DFW, through this story, wishes to show us how we can live a more compassionate life, and while the message is simple, it is absolutely necessary, and deeply moving. View all 4 comments. Mar 30, Jason rated it really liked it Shelves: , for-kindle , reviewed. View all 8 comments.
Shelves: miscellaneous-non-fiction , within-the-dark-there-is-a-spark. I have to respectfully disagree and say that I found this to be uplifting in a really serious way--like my version of a Chicken Soup For The Soul sense of uplifting er, uh, something --which is a feeling of redemption via facing messy truths and feeling my own thoughts to be extremely validated by his beautiful ideas and phrasings.
I'd read it many times over before he died though--so perhaps that's more or less responsible for the difference in our interpretations? Of course everything takes on a new weight and tone post-death, especially the obvious things like his explicit mentions of people committing suicide, blowing their brains out in order to destroy the awful master the mind. But I guess that I just have such strong associations with reading this at a time when he was alive and it was the exact thing I needed to read that this explains my continued sense of it being life-affirming and not so depressing.
Here's another excerpt from DFW's first ever published piece of writing in college which I posted along with other things in the woefully inactive DFW Goodreads group : "All this business about people committing suicide when they're "severely depressed;" we say, "Holy cow, we must do something to stop them from killing themselves! Because all these people have, you see, by this time already killed themselves, where it really counts.
By the time these people swallow entire medicine cabinets or take naps in the garage or whatever, they've already been killing themselves for ever so long. When they "commit suicide," they're just being orderly. I thought he was well beyond that level of, um, maladjustment. I knew about the troubles around the time he wrote the "Planet Trillaphon I thought he was this enlightened-beyond-depression kind of guy in his matured age.
Which I think he actually was in a lot of ways, and that's what's so damn sad about it: it really sounds like he was just having a mix up with transitioning to a new medication and that he fought really hard.
I can't stop thinking about his mom making him his favorite comfort foods and having these wonderful-sounding parents and wife supporting him and comforting him while his brain's chemicals were going haywire and how none of this could prevent the worst from happening. It's scary to think that someone with that kind of mental fortitude and cognitive command, that sort of sane and balanced outlook on life, someone supplied with a network of emotionally and intellectually supportive family and friends can still wind up "eliminating their map" because of a switch from one medicine to another.
But maybe it's more complicated than that. For some reason I sort of hope it is. Mystery solved: it's the same exact version of the speech I've read dozens of times over the last few years. It's stretched to pages by virtue of its being a tiny book guessing about 4. Having each sentence broken up page per page adds some aphoristic profundity, though it took a few minutes to get used to as the quicker flow of reading it in paragraph form online was what I was extremely accustomed to and is more aligned with Wallace's rather fast talking style.
Actually, the choice to print it this way is really disappointing. It seems a bit too much influenced by his suicide and an attempt to make what were already wonderful and profound thoughts It reeks of the kind of mythologizing that seems inevitable when a well loved public figure dies tragically. For instance, the inside jacket refers to Wallace as a "writer and philosopher", a description I've never seen before and for good reason: Wallace would never refer to himself as such.
He studied philosophy and had a B. Successfully reported this slideshow. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime. Upcoming SlideShare. Like this document? Why not share! Embed Size px. Start on. Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. They are default settings. And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self.
Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are, of course, free to think of it whatever you wish.
None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death. It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:. It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. And it commences: now. This is Water makes a great gift.
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Some people […]. First-principles thinking is one of the best ways to reverse-engineer complicated problems and unleash creative possibility. Here are the links to the original audio followed by the entire speech. You get the idea. I wish you way more than luck. Sponsored By. Some people […] Continue Reading.