This Is Water
Some Thoughts, Delivered on A Significant Occasion About Living A Compassionate LifeBook - 2009
From Library Staff
"What's unique about Wallace's words: Though he warns graduates of the banalities of day-to-day adult life, he reminds them that their newly acquired skills can help them maintain awareness and compassion as they move forward in their quest for success." - ReadersDigest.com
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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.
That is real freedom.
That is being taught how to think.
The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the "rat race"--the constant, gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
None of this is about morality, or religion, or dogma, or big fancy questions of life after death.
The capital-T Truth is about life *before* death.
It is unimaginably hard to do this--to live consciously, adultly, day in and day out.
If you worship money and things--if they are where you tap real meaning in life--then you will never have enough.
Never feel you have enough.
It's the truth.
Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.
On one level we all know this stuff already--it's been codified as myths, proverbs, cliches, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story.
The trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
Worship power--you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay.
Worship your intellect, being seen as smart--you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.
And so on.
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