A graduate address given by the American writer George Saunders has gone viral on the internet, and despite being very short – you can read it in a few minutes – will soon be published as a book by Random House.
Why? Because of the value of its central message, and because its down to earth and witty language belies a beauty that you can glimpse in this quote from towards the end here:
“Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Theresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.”
That sounds wonderful doesn’t it? But see how he begins:
“Down through the ages, a traditional form has evolved for this type of speech, which is: Some old fart, his best years behind him, who, over the course of his life, has made a series of dreadful mistakes (that would be me), gives heartfelt advice to a group of shining, energetic young people, with all of their best years ahead of them (that would be you). And I intend to respect that tradition.”
Saunder’s writing is deeply human, an absolute triumph.
You can read it here