In Aleksandra’s recently completed philosophical portrait (visible below), the man exhibits soft concentration while the woman exudes a soft composure attained through experience and contemplative practice. Both appear to be thinking together about the non-discursive.
The allusion in the title is to an early Daoist text called Inward Training. In Verse 4, the authors write,
As for the Way:
It is what the mouth cannot speak of,
The eyes cannot see,
And the ears cannot hear.
I argued yesterday that a demeanor just is the manner in which one ‘conveys’ or embodies a specific form of life. By saying this, I sought to clear a space for the consideration of demeanor, quite apart from that of behavior, conduct, action, and discourse. In the final paragraph, I suggested that this definition gives us a few clues concerning why simply being around a certain someone–in an office, on a train, in an elevator–may be at once draining and diminishing. Below, I want to show that ‘draining’ and ‘diminishing’ refer to two separate, but related, phenomena.
Continue reading “The effects of another’s demeanor: Draining and diminishing”