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[WRIT 1700] - Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (29 pages long!)


Department
Writing
Course Code
WRIT 1700
Professor
Kerry Doyle
Study Guide
Final

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York
WRIT 1700
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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WRIT 1700
David Wallace - “This is Water”
“What the hell is water?”
Liberal Arts education - teaching you how to think - isn’t really about the capacity to think, but
rather about the choice of what to think about
The exact same experience can mean different things to different people, given those people
have different belief templates and different ways of contracting meaning from experience
Blind certainty - a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the
prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up
critical awareness
the world as you experience it puts you at the center of it, other’s people’s thoughts have
to be expressed to you, but yours are immediate
choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired
default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered - how much of this is
actually based on knowledge or intellect
learning how to think really means learning how to exercise control over how and what
you think, it means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you are paying
attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience - you need to
master this in adulthood
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
the point = petty, frustrating stuff is where the work of choosing comes in - make a
conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to - thinking of the petty,
frustrating stuff tends to be so easy and automatic that it doesn’t have to be a choice, but
is our natural default setting - operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that we are
the center of the world and that our immediate needs and feelings are what should
determine the worlds priorities, but there are totally different ways to think
if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently
if you really learn how to think, how to pay attention, you will know other options
the only truth = you get to decide how you want to see things = THE FREEDOM OF
REAL EDUCATION = YOU GET TO DECIDE WHAT HAS MEANING AND WHAT
DOESN’T
“The real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the
so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along on the fuel of fear, and
anger, and frustration, and craving, and the worship of self”
There are all different kinds of freedom - the important kind of freedom is attention and
awareness and discipline, that is real freedom, being educated and understanding how to
think
The alternative = unconsciousness, the default setting
The real value of an education has almost nothing to do with knowledge, but everything to do
with simple awareness (what is so real and essential, hidden in plain sight all around us, that
we have to keep reminding ourselves of)
Education is essentially our job for the rest of our life and it begins now - it truly doesn’t begin
until we are finished school, and we have to continue working at it
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WRIT 1700
With this being a liberal arts course, I predict that all of us will have different interpretations of
David Wallace’s overall thesis throughout his speech, and I am genuinely interested to read
about everybody else’s thoughts. This is honestly the reason why I love words so much.
Everyone deciphers them differently, and there is not necessarily a right or a wrong answer.
Personally, the main argument that I grasped from Wallace’s words, is that one’s perspective is
the key to happiness in life, and that the only way to achieve this happiness is to learn how to
control your thoughts. Wallace uses parable-like stories and relatable, real world examples to
effectively approach this topic, and uses repetition as well, with the whole “This is Water” idea,
and continuously referring to the default setting of our mind. Wallace argues that there are
different ways to think than what we are naturally conditioned to, and that if we are aware
enough to give ourselves a choice, we can choose to look at things differently. He later states
that this is the freedom of real education: deciding what has meaning to us and what does not.
This is exactly what a Liberal Arts education is. It teaches us how to think in a way that deviates
from our unconscious default setting, and this is transferrable to every situation that one will
face in life, and vital to happiness, as happiness is truly directly linked to one’s thoughts and
perception.
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