Summary Of David Foster Wallace This Is Water

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In “This is Water,” the author, David Foster Wallace, argues that the interpretation of life is a conscious and intentional decision, only learning by being aware of exercising and taking control of how one thinks. In his 2005 Commencement Address, Wallace begins by introducing the topic of life and how each person perceives it, especially regarding a liberal arts education. Wallace later explains the concept of different realities, meaning that two different people can perceive the same experience with two different meanings. Wallace uses the example of both a Christian and an atheist, and how the atheist was caught in a blizzard and cried out to God for help, and moments later a group of Eskimos wandered by and took him back to camp. The Christian saw this as a miracle from God, while the Atheist saw a group of …show more content…

He connects that story to the concept of the apparent default setting of humans today, self-centeredness. Wallace argues that because humans believe they are the center of universe, it causes the well-known day in day out adult life. Immediately after explaining various examples of adult life, he begins to explain one of his main claims, that how one perceives life is up to the person themselves. Wallace considers being aware of how to think and make conscious decisions as real freedom. He then points out that there is no such thing as not worshipping, and humans have the choice of what they worship conscious or unconsciously, whether that would-be God, Allah, money, or materialistic items. Wallace concludes his speech by claiming the real value of education is not knowledge, but being aware of what is real. Wallace’s main claim about a liberal arts education, that it exists to teach students how to think, is incorrect; however, he is correct to say that the same experience can mean two different things to two different people, and that learning how to think is being aware of how to exercise control over how you

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