Name: Jason Ortiz
Professor: Ms. Danielle Sonnenberg
Course: Applied Psychology GEC 123
Date: January 8, 2016
This is water by David Foster Wallace
In 2005, renowned writer David Wallace gave an important commencement speech commonly referred
to as This Is Water. The speech focused on the importance of being conscious, sympathetic and well
adjusted. He came with the concept of a natural default setting that encourages self-indulgence and lack
What did David Foster Wallace mean by default mode setting?
According to Wallace, we have a default setting that leads to the assumption that the world revolves
around us. We tend to think that everything that takes place in our lives only occurs because it has an
impact on us. He was pointing to the fact that people view the world from their personal perspective.
This type of default setting leads to self-indulgence since we become trapped in internal monologue. He
argued that people need to change their thinking and learn how to control how they construct their
meaning from experience. Wallace urged that we should extend our perspectives beyond the self,
because there is more happening around us. Well-adjusted people are those who can adjust their
natural default setting.
What is your default mode setting?
My default setting is not far removed from what Wallace described in his essay. I lived in a world
dominated by my thoughts. In my world, I am the centre of my reality and everything else just occurs to
affect me. External occurrences are usually viewed from my perspective because I have limited myself to
automatic unconscious thinking. If you ask me I would tell you that I am well adjusted, because I get
along with others and I am well educated. Now, I am aware I over-intellectualize because I have not
adjusted my natural default setting. I get easily frustrated when things do not go my way. Sometimes, I
even think that there is a conspiracy to defeat my...