By Charles Wheelan
Modeled on Charles Wheelan’s 2011 classification Day Speech at Dartmouth collage, this choice of refreshingly sincere suggestion and observations is the antidote to these cotton-candy platitudes which are all too frequent to a person who’s ever worn a mortarboard. Armed with a PhD in public coverage, a long time of expertise in social technology learn, and—perhaps such a lot important—good-natured humor, Wheelan bargains up 10½ head-turning aphorisms on happiness and luck that anybody staring down the barrel of commencement must pay attention yet most likely hasn’t heard but. Celebrated New Yorker cartoonist Peter Steiner provides a slightly of caprice along with his irreverent illustrations sprinkled all through.
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Translated from the japanese by way of KA Yoshida and David Mitchell
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Extra resources for 10 ½ Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said
From the modern point of view of the “curious” pilgrim, the pilgrimage is an intensely internal experience in an intensely physical context in which the journey, more than the destination, is the goal. But it’s also something more than that. People instinctively want something to believe in, whether they believe in anything much or not. From the medieval perspective, the pilgrimage was undertaken for the very speciﬁc reason that the great physical hardships of pain, hunger, thirst, exposure to the elements, and general loss of comfort and of all that’s familiar are con- 38 ducive to inducing a mental state eminently suited for the spiritual exercise that the pilgrimage fundamentally was and can still be—to a certain extent, the adoption of monastic spiritual practices in the non-monastic medium of the visitation of a holy site: this was the purpose of such a long and grueling journey.
I hadn’t expected this. I had begun the pilgrimage with calluses on my feet that a Marine would be proud of, the result of long, hard training in the semi-desert of southern California. The trail, however, was as tough as my calluses, and I got blisters under the calluses, where they couldn’t be pierced, an excruciating experience that would go on and on until the next full day of hiking in the rain, when the whole thing would explode into an unrecognizable mass of overlapping layers of shredded epidermis and revealed blister upon revealed blister, like so many strata in an archaeological site, penetrating to depths I had thought impossible before.
In the same way that a nonreligious person can listen with sensitivity to a Gregorian chant or read an unusually evocative passage of medieval religious prose or verse, he or she can, to a degree, still experience the pilgrimage. But there still has to be a culmination to such an experience. And to me, that culmination was not Santiago itself. This was despite the Compostela and the stunning Pilgrims’ Mass, which took place in the cathedral in a setting of sensory saturation so great that the eye hardly knew which way to look ﬁrst— unless it was at the near-pagan spectacle of the botafumeiro, a giant, solid silver censer weighing 120 pounds that’s swung from the ceiling in front of the high altar and that takes eight men to set into motion in its 180-foot arc through the transepts, a spectacle that causes the crowd to break into spontaneous oohs, ahhs, cheers, and wild applause, even though they are warned by the priests ahead of time to control themselves.