That’s the gist of the speech that author George Saunders delivered to the graduating class of Syracuse University last year. In his commencement speech, the author urged the students to be kind to each other. “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness,” Saunders said in the speech. “To the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness.”
The sentiment echoes both Kurt Vonnegut’s line from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — God damn it, you’ve got to be kind”) and, of course, George Carlin’s sage saying in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (“Be excellent to each other”). It’s advice that resonated with the graduates and the world at large thanks to a reprinting in the New York Times that helped the speech go viral.
Now, the heartwarming speech has been animated in new video by Above Average and may spread across the internet again, which is just fine, when it comes to reminding people to be kind (especially in internet comments).
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