Excerpt from "This is Water" Commencement by David Foster Wallace

I thought this was a pretty awesome perspective.

"Because here’s something else that’s weird but 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 the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.

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."

… Says the guy who killed himself

I worship the code of ethics & Gips. It’s fulfilling.

P.s. I wouldn’t take anything an Amherst grad says seriously. Those guys are zips.

Sometimes you’re too f*cking ignorant to even want to acknowledge.

He spent 20 years battling depression and even undergoing ECT. What the f*ck do you know.

I’ve been down this inner-search path for a few years, and come to some similar conclusions.

The only problem is that its very difficult to apply in everyday life. Our senses are constantly bombarded and the default setting just takes over, I guess that is where the discipline is supposed to take over

I read that and the first thing I thought was “Turd’s just going to love this…”

Turd, I apologize, I crap you not, I wanted to quote and deleted.

Turd wrote:

“That was diahrea cha cha cha”

(it pains me to have to retype that)

Picturing you write this makes me smile. What was your response going to be?

What he says has nothing to do with him having ‘depression’ to the extent of even undergone ‘ECT’ don’t know where that came from.

I hear a lot of high-falutin, sanctimonious people say these things only when they are unsuccesful and therefore have to compensate by some vague sense of forced humility, or have been very successful but are about to die.

This kind of talk to a mass of people is very egotistical. On the same level as money/power hunger. Just a different sort of ‘rat race’ reallly.

Turd, was just going to ask what your issue with it could possibly be.

How so? He was widely considered one of the most talented writers of the 1900’s, and probably the most talented in the last 50 years. Infinite Jest is modern legend, basically a right of passage for anyone interested in contemporary literature. So you can check off unsuccessful. Let me know how many bankers will get a Time Magazine writeup when they die. Especially one entitiled “death of a genius”:


He wasn’t necessarily “about to die” either. He was going through a lifelong struggle with depression that he did lose three years later, but I’m not sure he really saw that coming. There’s a ton of phenomenal insights in there for anyone willing to suspend themselves and read. Anyhow, it figures, people here would take issue with it. Buncha sellouts doing the most boring and least rewarding jobs imaginable for some of the most unbearable corporations unwilling to grapple with those concepts.

Power hungry and rat race for accepting an invite to speak at a commencement and giving his thoughts? Okay.

Thinly veiled “hate thy self” garbage.

Well, I guess I was a bit harsh. Sorry BS.

I did read what you posted, and nothing profound came out of it. Alot of generalities, leading towards basic Buddhism.

I guess it’s because I was ‘expecting’ something new, or something old, told in a ‘new’ light. So the fault’s on me.

Agree completely and I try to live my life that way. Unfortunately you have to be pretty select with who those “other people” are. Been burned more than once trying to be kind.

CT just want to be Dionysius, which is kind of like wanting to be Jesus Christ.

The broader speech was in my mind a lot better for a new twist or whatever. But I thought this excerpt in the middle was just really good (although not necessarily innovative)

It’s really not at all. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I pulled it out of context or people’s failure to read it.

Wow - that’s pretty judgmental. I think you’re better than this, BS. Let people have their own opinions - they don’t have to agree with you on everything.

^Sorry, frustration with financial system and my own life choice. If I were completley frank, I really struggle trying to maintian respect for this system or it’s cogs (myself currently included). In honesty if my clothing line works out or I wind up farming and out of this mess I will have no love lost for this industry and it’s culture.

I hear you on the cog part. Either way, I hope the clothing line or farming works out for you. For what it’s worth I have a ton of respect for your opinions, simiply because I understand the amount of thought you put behind them.

As for the DFW excerpt, great perspective imo.

My post failed to post. Anyways, BS, if you do go into farming, let me know ahead of time, because that’s -1 on the NonFarm Payrolls figure, and that will surely rock the markets.

If you have the youthful energy, and the luxury to still pursue an ideal, than go for it. No need to justify it by bashing another industry.

I feel your frustration in a general sense, so I will have a drink for you as the market just closed.

Sounds fairly Buddhist to me. Black swan, have you ever studied it?

The author probably needed some Mettā meditation

An EEG study by Richard J. Davidson of people who meditate in metta, with a minimum of 10,000 hours practice, showed substantial differences in the magnitude of gamma waves as well as gamma synchronization, particularly during meditative sessions, and directly afterwards. During baseline states, where the subject was not engaged in the practice of metta, there was a signature brain wave pattern that distinguishes the metta practitioners, lay people as well as monks, from people, at baseline, who have not extensively practiced compassion meditation. This study also showed, during meditation, an increase in the activity of brain areas such as the temporoparietal junction, insula, and amygdala can increase the subject’s ability to see things from another’s perspective, and actually change the area of the brain that is involved with the autonomic system so that the meditator’s heartbeat increases. These studies show that the amygdala is modulatedduring compassion meditation