Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Living a life of freedom

A friend of mine lent me David Foster Wallace's This is Water, a commencement speech he gave at Kenyon College in 2005.  It's a short little volume, but as with all good commencement speeches, it poses some interesting thoughts, about the nature of how we choose to live.  The idea that the way we control the thoughts in our heads to live better lives, more compassionate lives, more important lives.  To step out of our own self-absorption or our thirst for things that can take over our lives so that we live a life worth something greater than ourselves.  And hopefully in the process save ourselves from being complacent, from madness, and whatever else threatens us in the world.

I don't know, I think I need to read it again to process it, but right now, just want to get these things down:

Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious.
--[pg. 112]

But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. 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, everyday. That is real freedom.
--[pg. 119-121]

The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the "rat race" -- the constant, gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
--[pg. 123]

I probably could wax on this a little more, but I'll leave it here for now. I would recommend everyone to pick it up though. I think I have to read it again.

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