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“Radical” at Its Roots

Ben Nussbaum editor

Image by Beatrice Nussbaum

S&H Editor in Chief Ben Nussbaum reflects on the word “radical” at its roots.

Radical. Originally the word meant root. A radical change was a change that returned to the root, the most important things. What’s striking about the seven people profiled in our spiritual radicals section (p. 38) is how root-focused they are. Returning to the basics can require pushing at the boundaries. If you are progressive enough, you get back to where you started. Emily Qureshi-Hurst reconnects strands of inquiry that separated long ago. Jes Kast returns to the words of her tradition’s scripture. Kameelah Rashad reminds us that a spiritual journey can only get so far without physical wellbeing and basic security. It’s radical only in that it’s obvious, but sometimes we forget the obvious things. Rabbi Wayne Dosick restores vibrancy to old rituals. And on and on. I see a theme of returning to basics in other parts of this issue, too. Kevin Anderson (p. 12) describes how compassion starts with self-compassion, an idea that is somehow both revolutionary and self-evident. Julie Peters (p. 20) writes about the Stages of Change theory, which is a modern spin on an intuitive idea: Change is hard, a …

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Ben Nussbaum is the Editor in Chief of Spirituality & Health.

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