In the past week I have watched this beautiful video set to David Foster Wallace’s “This Is Water” commencement speech at Kenyon College no less than a dozen times.
This speech is important to me for many reasons. In addition to being the theme of my recent wedding, I believe it speaks quite clearly to the goal of TOI’s work.
Dante and I often comment that we are not trying to churn out the next generation of great artists. Instead, we are interested in developing a person’s ability to create a practice of routine, inquiry, and deliberate choice-making in order to avoid falling victim to the assumption that the world is out to get you and life is something to be angrily survived rather than joyfully crafted. Other people are probably not trying to be your daily antagonist. They, too, are making their way through the maze of life’s struggles and beauties. You can believe that their goal is to obstruct your progress. Or you can consider the other possibilities.
You get to choose.