A felicitous realization about recurrence and impermanence

Final days in Appalachia. A felicitous realization. So long as we live, each day will recur, varying only slightly from the last. We will work and rest, eat and sleep, think and speak. We will incline or be supine; sit down or get up; touch or be touched; be around others or be alone. As Plato knew and as Beckett showed us, sometimes the order of these basic human categories will change and sometimes the order will not change. When they do not change, rituals will spring forth. Mostly, though, each day will recur, until it does not, varying only slightly from the last or from our last.

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Becoming radiant is hard, being radiant is easy

You write that ‘radiance is virtue manifested in the keys of natural eloquence, graceful action, and a gentle demeanor…’ So, does radiance consist of three different things that, once combined, make up a whole, or are these three names for the same thing? 

The latter. Radiance is not a part:whole relationship (fingers:hand) or an arithmetic relationship (1 + 1 + … + = n). Radiance is the same thing manifesting itself fully in three different ways.

When the radiant person acts (or rests), he acts (or rests) in the right sort of way. When he speaks (or is silent), he speaks (or is silent) in the right sort of way. When he demeans, he demeans in the right sort of way. The last is concerned with the kind of presence he conveys. It may be that his absence (or ultimate absence) also leaves others uplifted, as if he were still present in the right sort of way.

Being radiant is hard, then?

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Philosophical Improv no. 10: Inquiring is no Longer a Luxury

Since Episode 9 on self-surrender, we’ve been making the slow turn to Part III: the path of radiant living. In this episode, I provide a brief sketch of the art of philosophical inquiry. This subject is discussed at greater length in my book, The Art of Inquiry, a copy of which can be ordered here.

These episodes are attempts to think aloud. The arguments made here are taking on a more final shape in my forthcoming book, Radiance: An Essay for Unsettled Time.

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Philosophical Improv no. 9: Self-surrender

In this episode, I describe the moment in which one is awakened to the idea of self-transformation. That awakening I call ‘self-surrender.’ So far, the series of episodes is divided into 3 sets: the nature of radiant living (Episodes 1-6), the relevance of radiance for our time (Episodes 7 and 8), and the path of radiant living (Episode 9ff.)

These episodes are attempts to think aloud. The arguments made here are taking on a more final shape in my forthcoming book, Radiance: An Essay for Unsettled Time.

I’m a Ph.D.-trained philosophical counselor who teaches individuals and organizations throughout the US and Europe how to inquire into the things that matter most. A former resident of the Upper East Side in New York City, I now lead a simpler, more contemplative life amid the gentle mountains of rural Appalachia.

For more about me, you can visit andrewjamestaggart.com.

The necklace worn in the video was designed by Alexandra Marcella Lauro, a maker of meditation jewelry. To view her collection of meditative jewelry and to purchase a necklace, you can go to meditativejewelry.com.

Philosophical Improv no. 8: Why Radiance Matters

In Episodes 1-6, I spoke about the nature of radiance. In the last episode, I suggested that we are living in unsettled time. In this one, I seek to provide clues for why radiance may turn out to be the most excellent way of being for our time.

These episodes are attempts to think aloud. The arguments made here are taking on a more final shape in my forthcoming book, Radiance: An Essay for Unsettled Time.

Continue reading “Philosophical Improv no. 8: Why Radiance Matters”