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?”
Thus begins This Is Water, a famous commencement address that writer David Foster Wallace delivered at Kenyon College in 2005. He tells the graduates that a true education is the ability to have awareness--an awareness of the world around them and the people in it as individuals. The water is the continuing awareness of this while we live in the daily routines that push it into the background of our minds.
Filmmakers at The Glossary offer this excerpt of This Is Water, focusing on the illustration of the checkout line--a time of ordinary life that no one enjoys and is often frustrating.
I wrote this post on Saturday morning on my computer in my living room. I was tired and just beginning to chip away at my to-do list. While searching for content, I played this video. My wife passed by and started watching it.
By the end, I had already decided to post the video at Neatorama. My wife was deeply moved by it and asked how I felt about what it had to say. This question took me by surprise. I responded, "I don't know. I guess I spent the time trying to figure out how to write this up for Neatorama."
I wasn't paying attention to the water.
-via American Digest