This is Water

Welcome to another installment of Bennett‘s Bulletin.  Let’s get right down to it:

I’ve been thinking about internal dialogue this week.  There’s a little voice in my head narrating everything.  Sometimes the little voice is mean, and he says awful things about other people.  Often he is self-centered and selfish, thinking only about what’s best for me.  Unless I consciously choose what to think about, the default seems to be numb self-preservation, telling myself that I’m so important and that others are dumb or mean.

It’s hard to master thinking compassionately. There are times when I’m too tired or too preoccupied or just can’t be bothered to try to think differently about the world – to be nicer.  I have a hunch that it’s not just me.  In Washington, DC, I see people yelling into their cell phones or stomping down the street with furrowed brows everyday.  I don’t blame them; it’s hard.

I love the way David Foster Wallace tackles the issue.  His commencement speech to Kenyan College went viral a few years ago.  The title of the speech was “This is Water.”  It’s one of the most important things I’ve seen, and I revisit the speech regularly.

The audio is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI
DFW turned the speech into an essay, too, available here: http://www.metastatic.org/text/This%20is%20Water.pdf

This week, instead of spending your time reading my Bulletin, I hope you’ll either watch or read “This is Water.”  If you’ve seen it before, take the time to watch or read it again.

Let me know what you think.  Just send me your favorite quote(s) from “This is Water” and a few sentences about why.