This lovely phrase, in a collection of essays by the poet Seamus Heaney, struck me as being in large part what the world is aiming for when it talks about sustainability, sustainable development goals and related rather dry terms. 

It is combined with an interesting view of the contribution poetry can (and, it seems to argue, should) make to those ‘radiant conditions’.  Couldn’t the same be said for other domains?  Other writing or creative acts?

… in order that human beings bring about the most radiant conditions for themselves to inhabit, it is essential that the vision of reality which poetry offers should be transformative, more than just a printout of the given circumstances of time and place.  The poet who would be most the poet has to attempt an act of writing that outstrips the conditions even as it observes them. 

 

Source: Seamus Heaney, Finders Keepers: Selected prose 1971-2001 (London: Faber and Faber, 2003), p. 327

Photo credit: Pezibear at pixabay

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