Saturday, May 14, 2011

David Foster Wallace, "Real Freedom"

"...the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our own tiny skull-size kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear talked about much in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. 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 a myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. That is being taught how to think. The alternative is unconscious, the default setting, the rat race - the constant, gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing."

- David Foster Wallace,
Kenyon Commencement Speech

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