DFW - this is water

A speech given by David Foster Wallace in 2005 , you can find it on Youtube This Is Water by David Foster Wallace Full Speech.

David Foster Wallace suicided in 2008, at age 46.

In this speech, he said “It is about making it to thirty, or maybe even fifty, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head.”

He hasn’t made it to fifty.

To be honest, it is hard for me to digest his main points in this speech totally.

So I downloaded the small book titled this is water and reread it again.

Still, confused.

Here are some of my notes on his speech:

  • “Learning how to think” really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.
  • being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.
  • 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. 「This is really really really hard」

    [ To recap, it is a lifetime journey for learning and revising your default settings. ]

Some of his thoughts reminded me of the book titled Beyond feelings, the default settings David mentioned resemble first reaction and arrogance reflects people’s hidden attitude “mine is better” in that book.

but the authors of Beyond feelings explained these default settings in more detail, which is worth your time more: the speech or Beyond feelings? I recommend the latter.

But the book need more time to read, so his speech is a good start. enjoy.