Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. […]
Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.
This excerpt is taken from David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech at Kenyon College on May 21, 2005. David Foster Wallace, by the way, is an American novelist and essayist. Y’all probably can tell that this is not a religious or atheistic speech, but let me just make it explicit: this is a speech about the value of liberal arts education presented in one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the United States. This essay in general tackles the question why liberal arts education is important and how our liberal arts education can benefit us in life. He ponders on the cliche that “liberal arts education teaches us how to think.” Wallace’s main claim in this speech is that the cliche actually has deep and far-reaching implications. Ultimately, in Wallace’s argument, “knowing how to think” means living a life that is far from automatic, living a life with full consciousness, doing every single thing in life with consciousness.
Boy! I can easily relate this to my use of Chrome and Modzilla Firefox browsers, my decision to no longer use my smart phone as a smart phone (which requires me to subscribe to the easily substituted data service from AT&T, the way I see religion and how I live it, etc. etc. etc.
Well, last but not least, meet me long-lost big brother: David Foster Wallace.
To read the entire speech, click here.