David Foster Wallace Offers a Lesson in Mindfulness to Graduating Class: ‘This Is Water’

“I don’t know who discovered water, but it definitely wasn’t a fish.” – Terence McKenna

Its been well said that familiarity breeds indifference.  It can also breed, or rather lead, to a life lived on auto-pilot.  Enter a helpful reality check from David Foster Wallace:

On a related note, wish I could take credit for the following insight, but it comes from London Real’s Brian Rose after smoking DMT for the first time:

“When we’re in our own consciousness; we don’t know we’re in it – because we’re swimming around in this water all the time.  And when we perturb it, then we get to see the water that we’re in is actually water.  We get to see that what we’re in, what we think is just normal life, is this consciousness.  And it’s nice to perturb it every now and then because it gives you an appreciation of your own consciousness, it allows you to observe yourself outside of your normal day.  And it’s nice sometimes to shock your consciousness and to realize that all of the manifestations inside our head are just a construct of our own brain.”

So, whether it’s through the use of psychedelics or just good old fashioned conscious introspection, take a moment to remind yourself now and again – this is water.

You can find DFW’s original commencement address in its entirety here.

9 Comments on "David Foster Wallace Offers a Lesson in Mindfulness to Graduating Class: ‘This Is Water’"

  1. mannyfurious | Dec 2, 2013 at 12:06 am |

    The last time somebody posted this speech (in text form) these comments got filled up with a bunch of people whose panties were in a… bunch because Wallace used the word “worship.” People were like, “I DON’T WORSHIP ANYTHING.” And when some other people pointed out that they did, some of them even reverted to a dictionary definition and said because they didn’t have alters or make sacrifices that they weren’t technically “worshiping.”

    And in the meantime, the entire point of the speech went ungrasped.

    Let’s see what happens this time.

  2. Charles Colvin | Dec 2, 2013 at 1:35 am |

    i figured this out when i was twelve……

  3. This has reminded me to be conscious of being aware.

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