Posted in Guest Thoughts

What the hell is water?

David Foster Wallace‘s 2005 Kenyon College commencement address… “This Is Water.”


There’s nothing for me to propose about this speech that hasn’t already been parsed, quoted, rehashed, argued, mused, you-tubed, or term-papered. I’m just pointing to it because it’s maybe the best speech about Everything that was ever written.


The best transcribed version I know of is here (aside from the later published book-version).  Wikipedia actually does an admirable job of summarizing the topics:


This essay covers subjects including “the difficulty of empathy,” “the importance of being well adjusted,” and “the essential lonesomeness of adult life.”[1] Additionally, Wallace’s speech suggests that the overall purpose of higher education is to be able to consciously choose how to perceive others, think about meaning, and act appropriately in everyday life. He argues that the true freedom acquired through education is the ability to be adjusted, conscious, and sympathetic.[2]


Anyway, go read it. Share it. I hope you love it as much as I do.


There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”






Graphic designer / project manager / gardener living in Denver, Colorado.

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