Why is it great? It’s graduation season, so it seemed like a perfect time to revisit this beautiful commencement speech that the writer George Saunders gave at Syracuse University four years ago. It may have been the most unlikely thing ever to go viral, because it focuses on a most unhip, untrendy trait: kindness. Saunders uses the word luminous at the end, and that is the word that springs to mind when I consider this sentence, and this speech. OK, I have to include the luminous passage, because its ending packs such an emotional punch: “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 Teresa’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. And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been. I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful.”

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