Discover more from 1, by Jonathan Yagel
Are you choosing how you think? (1, #41)
On our invisible context — Estimated Read Time: 54 seconds.
When was the last time you listened to a speech or talk that profoundly altered the way you view life?
This week, I revisited one that had that effect on me.
In 2005, author David Foster Wallace gave a timeless commencement speech at Kenyon College. His main point was that we are unaware of our default mode of thinking. In particular, we are naturally hard-wired to be self-centered. And unless we can break out of this default state, it will inevitably lead us to deep loneliness:
I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.
As with most truly brilliant things, a summary doesn’t do justice to the original. So I recommend that you take a few minutes to read or listen to it. Even if you’ve done so before, go back and check it out again. It was even better than I remembered.