Miranda and her Philosophical Trio (Chapter 2)

It’s the second weekly meeting of the Philosophical Trio, and Miranda is glad to see again her two new companions. Linda, the philosopher and facilitator, invites David and Miranda to share their experiences from last week’s reading of Martin Foss’ text on death (AGORA, October 2016).

“Like you told us,” David says, “I read every day a couple of sentences from the text. But I couldn’t connect to it at all. I was depressed most of the week. I had a huge fight with me girlfriend, and she left me. And what does Martin Foss say about this? He says that the death of the beloved is a sacrifice for a higher life. When I read this, I said to myself: This guy is much too optimistic!”

“Can you explain what you mean?” Lind asks.

“Well, I too experienced death, so to speak. My girlfriend ‘died’ to me, but this didn’t give me a higher life. Maybe death is SOMETIMES a sacrifice for something high, but many times it’s just death – sad, empty, meaningless. I just couldn’t connect to this text.”

“Thank you for sharing, David,” Linda says. “But it seems to me that you connected to the text very nicely. You didn’t AGREE with it, but connecting does not mean agreeing. It gave you a good insight about the meaning of loss.”

David reflects, then nods in agreement.

A long silence follows as the three companions examine Foss’ text. Linda, who wants to prolong this moment of reflection, starts reading from the text aloud. But she changes it, adding to the original text the word “sometimes”:
The death of the beloved can SOMETIMES be understood as a sublime offering and sacrifice, and it will keep SOMETIMES the communion between the survivor and the deceased. It will SOMETIMES intensify the living experience of this communion, in which the deceased continues living.

Linda signals to David, and he reads this same passage again, while making his own additional changes:

But the death of the beloved is SOMETIMES NOT a sublime offering and sacrifice, and it BREAKS the communion between the survivor and the deceased. It will intensify the painful experience of this lost communion, in which the deceased continues living.

Linda signals to Miranda, and Miranda repeats a similar variation of this passage. For a few minutes they continue reading the same passage with small variations, again and again and again. Soon the reading becomes like a chant. The repetitive reading makes the words reverberate in Miranda’s mind, and they sink deeply into her.

Suddenly she stops. A “bubble” of insight surfaces into her mind. Linda’s soft smile tells her that she is welcome to take her time and reflect in silence.

Slowly, Miranda gives voice to her bubble: “Your sadness and my emptiness, David, are both forms of loss. And loss is a form of death: the death of a relationship, the death of happiness, the death of an opportunity, the death of self-awareness… We both experienced death this week.”

David is touched too. There is something about Linda’s presence that invites him to be personal and open. He feels no need to agree or disagree with Miranda, or indeed to talk ABOUT what she said. He simply reformulates the same idea in his own words: “A loss means that something died. A sense of emptiness means that a fullness has died. A missed opportunity means that a potential died. My sadness is a death of my togetherness.”

“I realize now,” Miranda adds, “that many of my everyday moments are a sort of death too. When I am at work, my mind is empty and I act like an automatic robot. It’s the death of my awareness, the death of my life-energies… And yet…”

She tells them about the insight which she had during the week (See “Miranda and her Philosophical Trio, number 1): that even when she works like an automatic robot, something important remains in the background: a bond with life.

The three companions converse about “dead moments.”

At the end of meeting, Linda summarizes. “We are starting to develop a philosophical conception of suffering and loss. So far we mentioned the concepts of SUFFERING, DEATH, SACRIFICE, LOSS, BOND. Thank you, Martin Foss, for helping us formulate these ideas, even if they don’t agree with what you write.”

“And what do you want us to do until our next meeting, Linda?”

“Let’s continue to explore our network of ideas, Miranda – but not in the abstract. This is, after all, philosophical practice. I will e-mail you a new text with instructions. During the week, please use this text to recollect yourself and reflect on your daily moments.”

“What do you mean by ‘recollect,’ Linda?”

“I leave this for you to explore. The word ‘recollect’, as you know, means to remember, but also to collect yourself again.”

By the door, before leaving, David says sadly, “I still feel sad, Linda. Our philosophy session didn’t make me happier.”

“Of course not, “Linda replies. “Philosophy is not supposed to solve your personal problems. Philosophy is about wisdom, about opening us to greater horizons of life. If it awakens in us new depths of understanding, if it makes our everyday moments deeper and richer – not happier or problem-free but deeper – then what more can we ask from it?”

On her way back home, Miranda reflects on the meeting. “I wonder what it means to have a deep moment…”



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 24 April 2017

Captcha Image


David M. Larsson
1 post(s)
David M. Larsson i...
Sergey Borisov
1 post(s)
Sergey Borisov has not set their biography yet
Albert Hoffmann
1 post(s)
Ran Lahav
12 post(s)
Ran Lahav is a philosophical practitioner and phil...

Latest Blog Comments

Mike Roth Precious texts on Agora
04 March 2017
Thank you, Ran!
Carmen Zavala Filosofia nel quotidiano
03 January 2017
When everybody can see everybody, meaning that everybody is equally exposed, the...
Stefano Zampieri Filosofia nel quotidiano
03 January 2017
yes it is true, we are saying the same thing in different words! God, for me is ...

Posts List


Carmen Zavala
15 April 2017
Sophia is sitting again in the kitchen preparing a cup of coffee after work. Today again she talked to her friend Miranda, who is now regularly meeting her two philosophical companions. Sophia feels t...
Ran Lahav
15 April 2017
THE “LANGUAGE” OF MY YEARNING In the days that follow the Philosophical Trio meeting [see previous chapter], Miranda is full of thoughts. The Trio had identified several concepts in Miranda’s way of t...
Ran Lahav
10 April 2017
MIRANDA DISCOVERS NEW MEANINGS After Miranda tells her Trio friends about her “bubble” of insight (See previous chapter), Linda, the philosophical facilitator, suggests thinking about this insight wit...
David M. Larsson
07 April 2017
How can perspectives from Asian philosophy be integrated into philosophical practice? In this and subsequent blog posts I will explore this issue alongside more general reflections on philosophical co...
Ran Lahav
01 April 2017
LETTING OUR BABY-IDEAS GROW For several days, Miranda continues thinking about the insight she had while contemplating on Bergson’s text. [See Chapter 3]. Bergson’s image of leaves on the water sugges...
Carmen Zavala
26 March 2017
Sophia is sitting in the kitchen preparing a cup of coffee after work. Today again she talked to her friend Miranda. Usually they just worked and worked together day after day and they seldom talked. ...
Ran Lahav
24 March 2017
Chapter 3: MIRANDA DECIDES TO CHANGE In the morning, after breakfast, Miranda sits in her armchair, holding a page in her hand. This is what Linda, the philosophical facilitator, had asked them to do ...
Ran Lahav
21 March 2017
For me, philosophy is not about discovering THE TRUTH. Philosophy is about giving voice to the many different voices of life and reality. So last night I was delighted to find the following passage in...
Ran Lahav
18 March 2017
It’s the second weekly meeting of the Philosophical Trio, and Miranda is glad to see again her two new companions. Linda, the philosopher and facilitator, invites David and Miranda to share their expe...
Ran Lahav
10 March 2017
Miranda is sitting alone in her room, holding the philosophical text which her philosophical practitioner had given her. Today, like always, she is extremely busy – work, family, cleaning, buying – bu...
Carmen Zavala
06 March 2017
How can we use the ideas of a philosopher as a starting point for our own thoughts? In the spirit of philosophical practice I am sharing here some personal thoughts that this text of Gabriel Marcel pr...
Ran Lahav
03 March 2017
I look at Agora’s “Topics” section – it has so many beautiful philosophical texts from 2500 years of Western philosophy. I go through the monthly pages, month by month, and I see texts by famous philo...
Carmen Zavala
06 February 2017
Is it possible that also our feeling of what is right and wrong is part of our animality? In this sense our sense of morality is not learned by culture nor reason, but it comes from the depth of our b...
Stefano Zampieri
09 January 2017
L’esibizionismo del nostro tempo è soltanto una pallida imitazione, una deformazione, una perversione della naturale condizione esposta dell’uomo. La messa in scena dell’intimità nel grande spettacolo...
Ran Lahav
04 January 2017
Throughout history, many important Western philosophers discussed how philosophy can help transform our lives. Plato, Marcus Aurelius, Spinoza, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Bergson, and many many others – the...
Ran Lahav
31 December 2016
In my book Handbook of Philosophical Companionships (2016), I say: “ We contemplate because we treasure profound ideas and profound understandings in togetherness. We cherish the profound, just as in ...
Stefano Zampieri
31 December 2016
Sei esposto  Nasci nello sguardo di tua madre, sei esposto al suo affetto, sei nei suoi occhi fin dal primo istante di vita, fin dal primo respiro. Ecco, da questo momento, dal momento in cui nas...
Albert Hoffmann
28 December 2016
​Sometimes you have to do it upside down, to do it right: navigating towards 2017...
Carmen Zavala
26 December 2016
Blaise Pascal decía que el exceso de virtud es dañino para el hombre. En relación a esta idea de Pascal, a modo de broma, en la foto de la izquierda uno de estos trabajadores que descansa plácidamente...
Ran Lahav
25 December 2016
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE HE We often say: "This is a profound idea," or "She was lost in deep thoughts," or "It touched me deeply," or "He is a profound person," or "She had a deep spir...

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.