Jeff Mesnil
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⇨ D.F.W.: "This Is Water"

January 1, 2011

David Foster Wallace:

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?"

There is no better moment, at the dawn of a new year, to read again this speech from David Foster Wallace made all the more poignant by his suicide and be reminded about what is important in our lives:

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 myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the "rat race" - the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
[...]
It is about simple awareness - awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: "This is water, this is water."

Happy New Year. May this year fill all lives with happiness and health.