It’s that time of year again — commencement speeches and recognition of milestones. Endings and promises of bright tomorrows. A whole lot of “kids these days…” (more on that one later)
I don’t know how I missed this – David Foster Wallace speaking at Kenyon’s 2005 Commencement. It was played today on the Bob Edwards Show and I was stunned. I sat outside my office listening to the last word. It’s a little long, just over 20 minutes, but worth every second. Here is the text if you’d rather read than watch. It’s hard to pull out one teaser-quote from the dense and interwoven speech, but here’s what I chose:
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the “rat race” — the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.