Reflective practice

 
 

For me Practical Philosophy is Reflective Practice. Practising reflection puts our ideas continually under scrutiny and makes them available for change. My views are continually under revision, continually changing and for me that is the essence of Practical Philosophy.


    Reflecting is a very practical undertaking. It requires us to think on and through a subject which is important to us. Thinking requires effort and is best done when we feel keen to pursue some particular train of thought. Thoughts that we can follow most readily are to do with matters which affect our lives or the lives of those close to us, and revolve around concerns that apparently have no present solution. No reflections here claim to reach a result, or a right result, sometimes the process may make things clearer, but in so doing, in the short term, make matters worse. The process of reflection is a continuing one. Sometimes we reach conclusions only to overturn them a later date. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by discovering something we did not know before and which we feel opens up a whole new part of life. It may work for a while until we find it untenable or unreliable. The process of reflection should be seen as a process of discovery into an open territory which is our future. It is a personal interrogation but not one that intends to find any psychological or past reasons for behaviour. Sometimes a reflection is in introspective investigation—one of questioning ourselves, sometimes it is a reflection directed at another or undertaken with another. Sometimes a reflection my be poetic, sometimes it may be terse and abrupt. Philosophical reflection does not demand quiet or solitude. Sometimes this can be stimulating, but so are people, noise and confusion. It is often good to seek out the clatter of the world—we should think more often of retreating to then retreating from.


     All the reflections here are my own. Some simply came to me, some are part of concerted thinking. Some are stimulated by correspondence with another, or by conversation, or by seeing other people in the world. Some are set off by being with another, listening to what they have said, or remembering what they listened to when we spoke to them. Some come from quiet moments, some from the world at its noisiest. Some come when we feel tranquil and at peace, some when we are surrounded by the clatter of movement and turmoil. Some derive from times when anxieties seem distant, some when they face us with their full force. None are conclusive. All leave further questions to be thought of. All, however, take us to a place where we have never been before, because, before them, the thoughts we had, had never been.


    Most of the First set are put down in the same format: introduction, refection, comments. There is no order other than that it is a list.


    The Second set are in the main more constructed pieces with no introduction or comments.


    The Third set are short fictional thoughts—stories stimulated by another or by something in the world. I find that sometimes placing reflections into words in this way illuminates my thoughts more clearly. Some of them speak of the eroticism in the world, one of the loss of childhood and of the distance of our past memories, another the horror of guilt, some of fear and horror, and one of the confusion of other worlds with different rules.


    The Fourth set contains some pieces that are more an attempt to capture something of a moment, or a moment’s thought or an idea in something of a poetic form. I call them ‘poem-ish’.




First set--Reflections


What is me? What is the world?


What do I mean by consciousness?


What is it to experience the world?


A good rule, look closer


‘Sense of union’


Something or nothing?


Wisdom and what it is to be wise


An enlightenment for me stimulated by correspondence with another


Faith, reason and the rational coherence of inner transformation: four thoughts


The absurd tragedy of life


Reflection over four days on another’s search for meaning


Why should we be happy?


The beast and the burrow, keeping perspective


A little on death


Reflection stimulated by the suicide of Isabella


Releasing our individual eroticism—replacing agapic love with the erotic


On a tram—a realisation of agapic love


In a cafe—an overwhelming sense of love brings about a deep reverie


On love at first sight


A concluding thought on wisdom


Coming out of a fog




Second set--Reflections


The erotic


When the world seems a dead end


Actuality and anticipation


Sometimes how I sense the world


Reflections on my pond


Wisdom, personal mortality, and those that follow


At a railway crossing


Retreats and like minds


The most anxious girl


Thoughts in an airport


Farewell to a dying cousin


The man with the rolled up cigarette




Third set--Stories


Geraldine sits forward


Yes!


The pig cooler


The flag


The cat Mona


The last weekend


The tunnel


Meeting the girl


Trees


The watch


And so it goes


No vacancies


Welcome to Heathrow Airport


The Wish


The news


The new carpet


Katherine to be married



Fourth set--Poem-ish


Abandoned in a land


Cafe kiss


Cafe kiss 2


Glass case man (a lyric)


All gone


It was just passing time


Only one


Sitting


Falling


For me you prance


I’m yours it seems


That shard


Beyond and within I


Beyond and within II


Graveyard


The lost room


Sight, sound and nothingness


The map


The runes of darkness


How near the surface


Spots of time


The secret tears


The spell


Women in Valium


Audience with the emperor


Beyond and within abstract--an abstraction of reality


Time is unreal


Rainbow


Coming out of a fog


No conversation today


What did I see?


You have opened yourself up


Epiphany I


Epiphany II


Pastness


It’s a phone!


You’re never alone with a phone


Would


How I yearn to journey


The life you lead is mine


Yes


Rainbow


The thin red thread


Snuff!


Platform


Coming out of a fog again


Eternity


Not enough sex


Making a poem


Perfection


The Foundling


My life has been just a little story


The waiting room


Secrets out


That shard


What is loneliness made of?


The clatter of value


Those thousand smiles


Sinkhole


Thinking of you


Why do I fall in love with you? Why am I in love with you?


What is a mood?


Flip-flop


I want this--you


Just for a day


Sitting and waiting


So it’s gone


The beast inside


Let me describe it


The lost room


Still wondering


The magic light


Out on the weekend


Running to


Sitting in Dublin Airport

Reflective practice