The day-to-day trenches of adult life

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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 the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. 

This passage is from an amazing commencement speech given at Kenyon College by David Foster Wallace back in 2005. The whole 20-minute speech is well worth a watch but that quote in particular really made me think.

What’s cool about this quote (and this comes out more when you listen to the whole speech) is that he’s not necessarily saying you need to run out and get a religion. He’s just warning that thinking you can throw away any notion of a belief system that influences your life is bullshit and that the default ones that will spring up if you don’t acknowledge this can be even worse.

That other thing I take away from it is that you have to be careful what you put into your mind because that becomes the thing that you’re about. The whole “day-to-day trenches of adult life” part is what sells this for me, because anyone can go for awhile in life just doing whatever and believing whatever without getting into too much trouble but as you get older there are inevitably times when you get tested and have to decide what you’re about. Without some kind of belief system those hard times will just smash your head in.

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