Author David Foster Wallace (whose books I have never read) talked about Life and Work to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College. Mr. Wallace, 46, committed suicide in the fall, 2008.
One quote from his speech:
The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness -- awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: "This is water, this is water."
It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out.
The speech, it seems to me, is more the cry of a haunted midlife soul than something that eager and freshly-scrubbed college grads could use or even hear. In addition to a shrink, it sounds like the guy lacked God in his life. That quote reminded me of Zevon's Detox Mansion:
...it's tough to be somebody
And it's hard not to fall apart
Up here on Rehab Mountain
We gonna learn these things by heart.