In 2005, David Foster Wallace (American novelist, author, and professor) gave the commencement address at Kenyon College entitled,  This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life. I came across a quote from that speech in one of my favorite books, The Second Mountain, by David Brooks. I highly recommend the entire speech (found here) and the book (it is one of my four life-changing books).

David Foster Wallace states:

In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship – be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles – is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things – if they are where you tap real meaning in life – then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you…. Worship power – you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart – you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.

If Socrates dictum, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” holds true, then we must look closely at our core beliefs and how they influence our actions. As we move into the holiday season, it just might be the perfect time for deeper reflection on what we worship.

  • Charlotte Evans
    2 years ago
    Ooh! Good stuff here. Thanks for sharing!
    • Nate
      2 years ago
      Thanks Charlotte 😊