Archives for posts with tag: suicide

I hope you have already seen this. If not, then I’m honored, humbled and saddened to be the one to show you. American author, David Foster Wallace gave a commencement speech in 2005 at Kenyon College.

Wallace:

And I submit that this is what the real, no-bull- value of your liberal-arts education is supposed to be about: How to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default-setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone, day in and day out.

And…

Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings. They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing. And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the “rat race” — the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.

DFW would go on to commit suicide in the fall of 2008. Did he stop listening to his own advice?  Or was he listening to his advice and it was flawed? I would say he stopped listening, because “being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day” is exactly how we are meant to live.

I’ve written about the late and great Tobias Wong on multiple occasions.  If you haven’t checked out his site, please take the time to do so.  Core77 wrote about his:

Tobias Wong’s work plays between concept and beauty, exposing the similarities between art and design rather than blurring their boundaries. Unlike purely conceptual work – which often lacks a real appreciation for beauty, aesthetics, and a desire for consumption – his work often finds expression in real objects. He’s coined the term Paraconceptual to describe it: “Of, relating to, or being conceptual.”

Especially these:

Tattoo
Money Pad
Dreams

I heard about Tobias when I was still living in SF. Though his work might seem trite and cliche, at the time his work was an inspiration. So many kids were blathering on about the utility of objects, the importance of universal design, it was refreshing to see someone not taking things so seriously.  Unfortunately, what he didn’t take seriously in his work, he did in his view of the world as he took his own life last year. Is that always how it is?  He put the joy and laughter in his designs and didn’t leave enough for himself. Protect us all from what we want, and thank you for giving us what we need.  Please continue to show us the difference.