Stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed

By Suzanne LaBarre via   Article

Flowchart: David Foster Wallace On How To Live A Compassionate Life

David Foster Wallace‘s “This Is Water,” an essay derived from his 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College, has become one of the most famous pieces of 21st-century writing on living a compassionate life. Over at Medium, illustrator Jessica Hagy has boiled down one of the most moving aspects of the essay into this poetic cyclical flowchart:

The section she illustrates is toward the middle of the essay, where, without an ounce of preachiness, Wallace considers the value of taking time to recognize the humanity of strangers in a crowd. These strangers might be in your way at a grocery store checkout line or in a traffic jam. They might appear, on the surface, ‘stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman,’ he writes. Such an effort requires challenging ‘the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the center of the world, and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world’s priorities.'”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: