Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This is water...This is water

Happiness in the Longing for Repetition (M.A. Reilly, 2009).

The real value of a real education [has] almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:
‘This is water.’
‘This is water.’
It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. 
                    - David Foster Wallace 

These words were spoken by David Foster Wallace at a Kenyon commencement nine years ago. I think abut the challenge of staying wide awake and deliberately live and how so much works against that--the self-centered-ness that Wallace speaks of.  There is comfort in the ordinary, the routine as it allows us to blank out. For example, towards the end of the novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera writes:
“And therein lies the whole of man’s plight. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.”
As we consider why we educate, might it not be important to consider the continuum that Wallace and Kundera together suggest? Is being college and career ready really the outcome we ought to be seeking?

Is there not something bigger       lurking at the    edge           of our                         consciousness 
                                               we need to pay  

attention to?

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