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Snippet from the speech -

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"

 

This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. The story ["thing"] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of the genre, but if you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't be. I am not the wise old fish. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely morning.

 

It's a mystery to me

 We have a greed with which we have agreed

 And you think you have to want more than you need

 Until you have it all, you won't be free

 

 Society, you're a crazy breed

 I hope you're not lonely without me

 

 When you want more than you have, you think you need

 When you think more than you want, your thoughts begin to bleed

 I think I need to find a bigger place

 Cause when you have more than you think, you need more space

 

 Society, you're a crazy breed

 I hope you're not lonely without me

 Society, crazy indeed

 Hope you're not lonely without me

 

 There's those thinking more or less, less is more

 But if less is more, how you keepin score?

 Means for every point you make your level drops

 Kinda like you're startin' from the top

 And you can't do that

 

 Society, you're a crazy breed

 I hope you're not lonely without me

 Society, crazy indeed

 I hope you're not lonely without me

 Society, have mercy on me

 I hope you're not angry if I disagree

 Society, you're crazy indeed

 I hope you're not lonely without me

 

Eddie Vedder - Society