Thoughts: This is Water by David Foster Wallace

Before moving on, I recommend watch this video. Or don’t, your choice, whatever floats your boat, I guess.

A few months ago during the summer, I came across the video adaption of this speech. It was interesting, thought provoking, but a little dull at 2 A.M. in the morning. I closed my laptop, went to bed, and pushed the video to the back of my mind. Now, after watching it again, I realize that watching it at 2 A.M. was not the best decision because this video/speech was thought provoking, insightful, and perceptive. The kind of perceptive that makes my mind somewhat blown away, which leads me to do some in depth analyzing.


The writer of the speech, David Wallace, keeps saying, “This is water.” The quote by itself doesn’t really make sense, but after watching the video and re-watching it, I think I have created my own interpretation. To me, it means that society tells us something and because we were disciplined, we take it in. We go on through life repeating the same broken tune over and over, until it has become a part of our subconscious and it feels like it always has been.


After watching this, I think I ought to experiment what the speaker is showing. Instead of automatically assuming that the world revolves around me, I should observe others. People are people no matter where you go and everyone has their own issues and sometimes it causes them to be mean. Be more understanding, stay as patient as possible, and think about the other person, those are my goals. Go against the system you’re so used to and make our own choices.

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways everyday. 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 knawing sense of having had, and lost some infinite thing.” -David Foster Wallace

I also realize now that Wallace brings up a very important point. Being selfish, self-absorbed, and close-minded are all (somewhat) a part of human nature. It’s impossible to change that, sadly, but it is possible to think outside the box. Change your way of thinking, look at it from their point of view and maybe you’ll understand why people act a certain way. Of course, there is not always success, but when there is it’ll make you a better person trying enjoying their life.


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