Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centredness because it’s so socially repulsive. But it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute centre of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.David Foster Wallace, “This is Water”
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2 thoughts on “”
I read DFW’s This is Water at least once a year. There’s so much in it that reminds of what it is to be an adult in this world, to be respectful, to be mindful, and to try my damnedest to be present. His bit on waiting in line at the grocery store and the choices we can make about that experience, our response to that experience… it often pops into my head when I’m out in the world and always makes me a better human for it.
DHH is so good at describing something in an clear and emotionally powerful way! That said, I thought this particular speech of his got a bit too dreary, particularly that checkout line part.
As an aside, I’ve read a bunch of his articles recently but liked this one the most:
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