2 September 2014
Kenyon Commencement Speech
David Foster Wallace gave a speech called Kenyon Commencement Speech to the Kenyon College in 2005. He delivered the message that a change in thinking can save citizens from the daily grind of their eight to five jobs. Wallace gave examples of this point in his speech starting with a fish in water, a person in a crowd, and how not to think.
Wallace started his speech with a short story about an older fish asking a couple of younger fish about the water. The younger fish swam a little and could not figure out what the older fish meant. Wallace then clarified by saying, “The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about” (199). This explanation leads to the main idea, which is the fact that a change in thinking that only your time is important or that people need to get out of your way, can save citizens from being so unhappy with everyone around them and their daily routine at their eight to five job. “Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to automatically be sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe” (201).
Wallace later brushes up on the fact that it is the belief; which “everything is about you” triggers the anger and unhappiness most people have, the anger that every other human around you is getting in your way. He refers to this as a person’s “natural default setting” (205). He then gives an example of this by telling everyone the too real story about the shopper who is very tired; but has to fill his food supply, and gets mad about everyone being in his way of getting out of there. The shopper is not only upset about everyone in his way but also, in what seems a few short hours, he will be getting back up at seven to be at work at eight, and start his routine...
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