Philosophy, once again, is the search for radiance

In The Guidebook to Philosophical Life, I wrote that “philosophy is the search for radiance.” Philosophy, once again, is the search for radiance.

In this search, there is an important distinction to be drawn, and lived out, between the focus of one’s energies and their dissipation. One’s energies must be corralled, directed, and intensified; they are often in danger of being dispersed, misdirected, and weakened. A necessary condition for leading a radiant life is, therefore, the energetic focus of one’s activity on things that matter most.

To maintain and enhance this energetic focus, the radiant aspirant would need to treat life as if it were a meditation. Quite possibly, he will need to meditate daily, but it is also true, and this more generally, that he will need to go through life in a state that can be likened, at best, to a meditative one: to proceed with composure, calmness, and lightness.

There is another angle from which this meditativeness can be approached. I am thinking about the company one keeps. One’s friends could very well be older, less unwise, more dispassionate, and more sober–persons, long-lived, not without a sense of life’s travails but with a greater, humbler, steadier understanding of life’s wholeness. I think the intellectual bond between the young and the old should have this sort of education of the spirit at its heart.

Beginning with a person’s meditation on himself and spreading outward therefrom, radiance not only attracts but also emanates. This physical manifestation of channeled energetic focus, of meditative calmness, of dispassionate friendship illuminates his relationship with persons and things, everywhere and throughout, as being like the dawn’s first flush, the lamps’ dusky glow.