‘Going slowly, we avoid disaster…’

Going slowly, we avoid disaster. Going fast, we court it.

Looking at things impartially, we understand them clearly. There is no room for harm or for complaints or for ‘voices’ to be ‘heard.’ We do not churn with things or vent them or spew them out; we do not turn with them because they do not turn in us. We think through them, and thus they are gone.

Things come into being and go out of being. Knowing this, we would not think to hold them in place.

Things come into being and go away. Knowing this, we would not try to hold them firmly in memory.

Things come into being and go away. Knowing this, we would not try to secure or control a better future.

As things come into being, we respond to them. As they go out of being, we do not.

When we inquire, we go along with things. When we go along with things, then things can take their course.

A change in character means that one could not be distressed by what comes along by surprise. Something happened, stopped me, held me in amazement. Looking at this impartially, I understand it clearly. Understanding it clearly, I let it go its own way.

I let others go their own way. That way, there can be no contempt. No hold-over, either. No masterhood or servitude. No one enslaved to anyone. Only, the loosening of a tie, threads falling whichever way they do.

We laugh when some questions such as ‘What is to be done?’ seem like genuine questions to ask. Ah, because when we understand ourselves, then these questions ‘tire themselves out.’ Then they cease to be interesting. Then they cease to be asked.

Then they cease to be.

Going slowly, we avoid disaster. Going fast, we court it.

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Writing Blog Tour: My Life as a Philosopher

The Writing Blog Tour consists of two parts: answering four questions having to do with the process of writing and introducing some friends who, in turn, will do the same the following week. So far as I can tell, this collective project began sometime last summer and has since continued apace. In some respects, the idea resembles an old-fashioned chain letter; in others, an invitation. For my part, I have taken this assignment as a call to think further about the various ways in which my conceptions of the philosophical life have changed from 2009 to the present.

It was Jeppe Graugaard who invited me to participate. This occurred about two weeks ago. A little over two years ago, Jeppe first got in touch with me in order to have a conversation with me about Dark Mountain Project, the subject of his Ph.D. thesis which is now nearing completion. Our conversation, which was very improvisational in nature, was recorded, transcribed almost verbatim, and is still available here.

Rather than treat these questions as if they were discrete and posed in an interview format, I have sought, to some degree, to craft a narrative stretching from beginning to end. Afterward, I introduce Christopher Brewster, Eldan Goldenberg, Ian Prinsloo, and John Thackara, each of whom has graciously accepted my invitation to continue the Writing Blog Tour on March 31.

Here, I submit myself to the questions.

Continue reading “Writing Blog Tour: My Life as a Philosopher”