Day 136: This is water

David Foster Wallace’s moving talk to the graduates of Kenyon college begins with a story. There were two fish swimming and a larger fish asked how the water was. One turned to the other and asked, ‘What’s water?’
‘This is water’ refers to the care and attention we sometimes forget to show in our daily lives. This extract from Foster Wallace’s 2005 speech, set to film by The Glossary, features a young man struggling to be own accustomed to the daily grind. As he goes about the business of working, shopping and the long commute, he is encouraged to look around him, to avoid being irritated, to think about the problems others may be facing. It’s a beautiful piece of film inspired by a beautiful speech. Sometimes we all need to look around and remember that this is water.


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