Profound Commencement Speech by David Foster Wallace

I very rarely just post a video on the blog. My goal for WorldOfJoel has been to write about stuff I love. Very rarely do YouTube videos have any real impact on my life so I don't post them. However today is different. I was driving to work this past week listening to one of my favorite podcasts, /Filmcast. They were doing a review of the movie The End of the Tour which is about an interview conducted with famed author David Foster Wallace. 

Being completely transparent although I've learned to love to read over the last couple of years the name David Foster Wallace didn't ring any bells. That's no longer the case. During the podcast one of the podcast hosts mentioned a speech that David Foster Wallace gave before he committed suicide. It sounded interesting so I gave it a listen. As of this writing I've listened to it three or four times and I know Jenn has given it two goes as well. The speech was titled This is Water. It's easily one of the most profound speeches I've ever heard. His grasp not only of the English language but for the world around him is something I don't know if I've seen captured better. I think the advice that he gives the graduating class as well as the adults in attendance is some of the most down-to-earth advice I've ever heard. It's one thing to give a speech of encouragement and praise. But its even more impressive that he was able to capture the real world and tied it back to the students education. I've got to say I'm still absolutely blown away by this brilliant speech. 

This is a speech I'm certain I will listen to at different points in my life. It's sort of amazing how listening to a podcast has not only made me listen to his commencement speech it made me interested in a movie I didn't know existed and want to read something by David Foster Wallace just to hear more of the mans insights. 

Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. 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 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 grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
— David Foster Wallace

This is the trailer for the movie The End of the Tour