In the commencement speech given at Bard College at Simon’s Rock earlier this year, Ronan Farrow expounds on a passage in C.S. Lewis’s Out of a Silent Planet on the topic of experience and memory, and how they are one and the same. Farrow tells the audience that what he has learned from the novel is that every experience we have had accrues significance over the course of our lives, and that it is our mission to turn those experiences—both the positive and the negative—outward into the world as gifts to others. He adds,
That little passage is also a liberation from some of the obstacles to that mission. Because thinking of each experience we’ve had as a living breathing thing that evolves as it’s remembered inside us, as it shapes us, and as we turn it outward and teach it to the world, means it’s never too late. Means you’re never too much or too little of anything – because of who you are, or how old you are, or what your place in life is – to have an impact.
The novel—or the excerpt he cites—might be worth a read in the context of my Coming of Age program, since the moral that Farrow draws out resonates very well with my Finding Your Calling workshop.
You can read a transcript of the speech here, or view it for yourself below: