This is water


'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?" (p.3)

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?" (p. 4)


'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.' (p.36) 


'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. (p.120) 


'It is about the real value of a real education, which has nothing to do with grades or degrees and everything to do with 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." ' (p. 131 - 133)

From 'This is Water  - Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life', by David Foster Wallace, talking to college graduates about the 'real value of a real education'.


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