This Is Water

Inspiring stuff:

But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer.¬†Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness.

Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you what 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.

Watch David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech {vimeo} to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon college.

It’s kind of funny how the things he suggest we shift our thinking about are now passe, just eight short years after he gave the speech. Stuff like SUVs, people talking on their cell phones… those items and behaviors are still annoying, but cars are getting smaller and people are texting more than they talk.

Via {daring fireball}.