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Thomas Merton

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  • proustienne2001
    The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of
    Message 1 of 12 , Feb 8, 2007
      "The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most
      common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried
      away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many
      demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help
      everyone in everything is to succumb to violence."(Conjectures of a
      Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton)

      Peter
    • Bob M.
      Yes Peter, it s quite simple and quite deadly too, at least here in the U. S. A. And the result of the violence from day one goes far deeper than even Merton
      Message 2 of 12 , Feb 8, 2007
        Yes Peter, it's quite simple and quite deadly too,
        at least here in the U. S. A. And the result of the
        'violence' from day one goes far deeper than even Merton
        realized. Merton, like Krishnamurti was indeed insightful
        into the wretchedness of the fallen human condition, but
        too lacked the courage to live in the world, rendering his
        insights considerably limited and himself likewise quite
        impotent in the awakening of others from the universal
        violence, ignorance, and sleep. Seems here that both men
        died without having ('made') any known 'disciples'.

        And let me add this: a child certainly DOES NOT 'allow'
        himself to be 'carried away by a multitude of conflicting
        concerns', but rather he's thrust directly into the
        wall-to-wall chaos from the day of his exit from the womb,
        (which may well could have too been a 'violent' growing
        environment), and without 'choice'. And in the vast
        majority of cases the initial formative 'dose' is
        psychophysiologically soul and human spirit damaging in
        a permanent and irreparable manner.

        Was Nietzsche the only man so far to have ever fully
        explored the abyss, I wonder here?

        - - - - - - - -

        "From the moment of birth, when the stone-age baby
        confronts the twentieth-century mother, the baby is
        subjected to these forces of violence, called love, as
        its mother and father have been, and their parents and
        their parents before them. These forces are mainly
        concerned with destroying most of its potentialities.
        This enterprise is on the whole successful." R.D. Laing

        "Most of us are no longer really human, we have been
        deprived of our humanity. We have been dehumanized
        by the processes of conditioning, upbringing and
        socialization. We are no longer the organized authentic
        self which we were once capable of beingÂ… What we
        are born for is to live as if to live and love were one.
        Unless we learn that lesson 'the goose is cooked' as it
        were." Ashley Montagu

        "The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not
        loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone
        in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection.
        And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some
        kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the
        crime guilt--and there is the story of mankind."
        John Steinbeck

        Bob M.
        ____________________________________________

        --- In Soar_Like_An_Eagle_2@yahoogroups.com, "proustienne2001"
        <proustienne2001@...> wrote:
        >
        > "The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most
        > common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried
        > away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too
        many
        > demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help
        > everyone in everything is to succumb to violence."(Conjectures of a
        > Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton)
        >
        > Peter
      • Bob M.
        Does anyone know where (in what book?) Thomas Merton wrote about Amish life as was mentioned below previously by Peter? I presently have on loan a video-tape
        Message 3 of 12 , Feb 8, 2007
          Does anyone know where (in what book?) Thomas
          Merton wrote about Amish life as was mentioned
          below previously by Peter?

          I presently have on loan a video-tape on the Amish
          people in Holmes County, Ohio. Watching it further
          convinces me just how terribly lost and degenerate
          us typical run-of-the-mill born and (ill) bred
          Americanites indeed are.

          Bob M.
          ________________________________________

          List messages 2611 & 2612 & 2467 (on Merton)

          Dear Bob:

          Yes I agree with you about the Amish and Mennonite communities. I
          recall reading a book by Thomas Merton about Amish life. Have you
          read Merton? He has written some very valuable work.

          Peter
        • proustienne2001
          Dear Bob, you wrote And let me add this: a child certainly DOES NOT allow himself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns , but rather
          Message 4 of 12 , Feb 8, 2007
            Dear Bob, you wrote "And let me add this: a child certainly DOES
            NOT 'allow'himself to be 'carried away by a multitude of conflicting
            concerns', but rather he's thrust directly into the
            wall-to-wall chaos from the day of his exit from the womb,
            (which may well could have too been a 'violent' growing
            environment), and without 'choice'. And in the vast
            majority of cases the initial formative 'dose' is
            psychophysiologically soul and human spirit damaging in
            a permanent and irreparable manner."
            Yes indeed. I think this is the heart of the matter or should I say
            tragedy. That sense of chaos and violence becomes deeply ingrained in
            the psyche. Bob,I really respect and admire the way you are working
            to replace that tremendous sense of loss with love. You possess a
            wonderful redemptive sensibility. My birthday wish for you is
            simple:Be Happy.
            Peter


            --- In Soar_Like_An_Eagle_2@yahoogroups.com, "Bob M."
            <new_trail_blazer@...> wrote:
            >
            > Yes Peter, it's quite simple and quite deadly too,
            > at least here in the U. S. A. And the result of the
            > 'violence' from day one goes far deeper than even Merton
            > realized. Merton, like Krishnamurti was indeed insightful
            > into the wretchedness of the fallen human condition, but
            > too lacked the courage to live in the world, rendering his
            > insights considerably limited and himself likewise quite
            > impotent in the awakening of others from the universal
            > violence, ignorance, and sleep. Seems here that both men
            > died without having ('made') any known 'disciples'.
            >
            > And let me add this: a child certainly DOES NOT 'allow'
            > himself to be 'carried away by a multitude of conflicting
            > concerns', but rather he's thrust directly into the
            > wall-to-wall chaos from the day of his exit from the womb,
            > (which may well could have too been a 'violent' growing
            > environment), and without 'choice'. And in the vast
            > majority of cases the initial formative 'dose' is
            > psychophysiologically soul and human spirit damaging in
            > a permanent and irreparable manner.
            >
            > Was Nietzsche the only man so far to have ever fully
            > explored the abyss, I wonder here?
            >
            > - - - - - - - -
            >
            > "From the moment of birth, when the stone-age baby
            > confronts the twentieth-century mother, the baby is
            > subjected to these forces of violence, called love, as
            > its mother and father have been, and their parents and
            > their parents before them. These forces are mainly
            > concerned with destroying most of its potentialities.
            > This enterprise is on the whole successful." R.D. Laing
            >
            > "Most of us are no longer really human, we have been
            > deprived of our humanity. We have been dehumanized
            > by the processes of conditioning, upbringing and
            > socialization. We are no longer the organized authentic
            > self which we were once capable of beingÂ… What we
            > are born for is to live as if to live and love were one.
            > Unless we learn that lesson 'the goose is cooked' as it
            > were." Ashley Montagu
            >
            > "The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not
            > loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone
            > in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection.
            > And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some
            > kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the
            > crime guilt--and there is the story of mankind."
            > John Steinbeck
            >
            > Bob M.
            > ____________________________________________
            >
            > --- In Soar_Like_An_Eagle_2@yahoogroups.com, "proustienne2001"
            > <proustienne2001@> wrote:
            > >
            > > "The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the
            most
            > > common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be
            carried
            > > away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too
            > many
            > > demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help
            > > everyone in everything is to succumb to violence."(Conjectures of
            a
            > > Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton)
            > >
            > > Peter
            >
          • Bob M.
            .....our culture is not only marked by frenzy, but driven by it. We are obsessed with our lack of time and space, with saving time, with conquering space,
            Message 5 of 12 , Feb 9, 2007
              ".....our culture is not only marked by frenzy,
              but driven by it. We are obsessed with our lack
              of time and space, with saving time, with conquering
              space, with making conjectures about the future, and
              worrying about size, volume, quantity, speed, number,
              price, power, and acceleration. We live in the time
              of no room, which is the time of the end. We are
              numbered in billions, and massed together, marshaled,
              numbered, marched here and there, taxed, drilled,
              armed...nauseated with life. And as the end approaches,
              there is no room for nature. The cities crowd it off
              the face of the earth. There is no room for quiet.
              There is no room for solitude. There is no room for
              thought. There is no room for attention, for the
              awareness of our state. Worse we do not merely lack
              peace - time, space, room - for ourselves; we prevent
              each other from finding it." (Thomas Merton)

              Bob M.



              --- In Soar_Like_An_Eagle_2@yahoogroups.com, "proustienne2001"
              <proustienne2001@...> wrote:
              >
              > "The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most
              > common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried
              > away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too
              many
              > demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help
              > everyone in everything is to succumb to violence."(Conjectures of a
              > Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton)
              >
              > Peter
              >
            • Bob M.
              The man of the Spirit hates to see people gather around him. I really think the idea of helping others and being open has led me into a real illusion.
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 9, 2007
                "The man of the Spirit hates to see people gather
                around him."

                "I really think the idea of 'helping others' and
                'being open' has led me into a real illusion."

                Thomas Merton

                Bob M.
              • Bob M.
                ...The monastery is not an escape from the world . On the contrary, by being in the monastery I take my part in all the struggles and sufferings of the
                Message 7 of 12 , May 17, 2007
                  "...The monastery is not an 'escape from the world'.
                  On the contrary, by being in the monastery I take
                  my part in all the struggles and sufferings of the
                  world. To adopt a way of life that is essentially
                  nonassertive, non-violent, a life of humility and
                  peace is in itself a statement of one's position.
                  But each one in such a life can, by the personal
                  modality of his position, give his whole life a
                  special orientation. It is my intention to make
                  my entire life a rejection of, a protest against
                  the crimes and injustices of war and political
                  tyranny which threaten to destroy the whole race
                  of man and the world with him. By my monastic life
                  and vows I am saying no to all the concentration
                  camps, the aerial bombardments, the staged political
                  trials, the judicial murders, the racial injustices,
                  the economic tyrannies, and the whole socioeconomic
                  apparatus, which seems geared for nothing but
                  global destruction in spite of all its fair words
                  in favor of peace. I make monastic silence a protest
                  against the lies of politicians, propagandists, and
                  agitators, and when I speak it is to deny that my
                  faith and my church can ever be aligned with these
                  forces of injustices and destruction. But it is true,
                  nevertheless, that the faith in which I believe is
                  also invoked by many who believe in war, believe in
                  racial injustices, believe in self-righteous and
                  lying forms of tyranny. My life must, then, be a
                  protest against these also, and perhaps against
                  these most of all." [Thomas Merton]

                  Bob M.
                • Bob M.
                  In Thomas Merton s last talk he said his preaching was not Pelagian (a doctrine that man could save himself by his own efforts alone), but a suggestion that
                  Message 8 of 12 , Oct 29, 2007
                    In Thomas Merton's last talk he said his preaching
                    was not Pelagian (a doctrine that man could save
                    himself by his own efforts alone), but a suggestion
                    that Christians should not, may no longer be able
                    to, rely on structures, but on something more deeply
                    experienced and understood and lived out. "What is
                    essential...is not embedded in buildings, is not
                    embedded in clothing, is not necessarily embedded
                    in even a rule. It is somewhere along the line of
                    something deeper than a rule, it is concerned with
                    this business of total transformation." Merton
                    concluded with a great plea for openness, openness
                    to other religions, other ways of life, but above
                    all to the "painfulness of inner change."

                    (From 'Merton: A Biography' by Monica Furlong)

                    Bob M.
                  • Bob M.
                    In Merton s essay The Cell (in Contemplation in a World of Action ), he charts what he believes is the essential contemplative (and perhaps ultimately of
                    Message 9 of 12 , Oct 29, 2007
                      In Merton's essay 'The Cell' (in 'Contemplation in a
                      World of Action'), he charts what he believes is the
                      essential contemplative (and perhaps ultimately of all
                      human beings), a route downward through loneliness and
                      acute boredom, to the place where a man or a woman,
                      deprived of diversion and the constant affirmation of
                      others, begins to doubt his or her integrity. When the
                      'disciple', as Merton calls him, reaches the point in
                      which all illusion is stripped away, and he knows his
                      own weakness, failure, and despair to the full, then
                      the way is made clear for the 'acme', 'the moment of
                      truth', in which a new identity is discovered in God
                      himself. "The Cell is the place where man comes to know
                      himself first of all that he may know God." From this
                      rediscovered identity, and this total awareness of
                      dependence on God, comes a new independence toward
                      other human beings, a new joy in the beauty and wonder
                      of the world, a new compassion and insight.

                      (From 'Merton: A Biography' by Monica Furlong)

                      Bob M.
                    • Bob M.
                      In the early 1960s Merton had advocated an openness to the world. By 1968 (his last year) he felt a distorting element in the renewal of the church had led to
                      Message 10 of 12 , Oct 30, 2007
                        In the early 1960s Merton had advocated an
                        openness to the world. By 1968 (his last
                        year) he felt a distorting element in the
                        renewal of the church had led to a movement
                        away from prayer, contemplation, the values
                        of the tradition which had provided strength
                        for almost 2000 years, in favor of an activism
                        that was wholly self-justifying.

                        We need the religious genius of Asis and of
                        Asian culture to inject a dimension of depth
                        into our aimless threshing about. I would say
                        an element of heart, of bhakti, of love. These
                        are some of the things we must recover.

                        (From 'The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton'
                        by Michael Mott)

                        Looking back many years later, Merton could
                        see how desperately he had longed for love
                        and how difficult he had found accepting it,
                        even from girls who truly loved him, perhaps
                        particularly from them. Part of him needed to
                        "keep clear", of dreaded emotional involvement,
                        and could only interpret loving approaches from
                        others as a kind of clinging, which no doubt
                        it often was.

                        (From 'Merton: A Biography' by Monica Furlong)

                        Bob M.
                      • Bob Michael
                        Selfishness can hide itself under many guises. I need the discernment to uncover its presence and its different forms. For until I am fully conscious that it
                        Message 11 of 12 , Feb 26, 2008
                          Selfishness can hide itself under many guises.
                          I need the discernment to uncover its presence
                          and its different forms. For until I am fully
                          conscious that it is there I can do nothing to
                          free myself from it.
                          What would it be like to be totally free?
                          In a moving passage Thomas Merton offers a
                          portrait of a person of perfect freedom in words
                          intended, one hopes, not to discourage the
                          reader but to show how deep is the reality
                          of freedom and how rare its perfect achievement.

                          I wonder if there are twenty men alive in
                          the world now who can see things as they really
                          are. That would mean that there are twenty men
                          that are free, who were not dominated or even
                          influenced by any attachment to any created
                          thing or to their own selves or to any gift of
                          God, even the highest, the most supernaturally
                          pure of His graces. I don't believe that there
                          are twenty such men alive in the world. But
                          there must be one or two. They are the ones
                          who are holding everything together and keeping
                          the universe from falling apart.

                          The path to perfect freedom is a difficult
                          one. For Merton it must always lead into the
                          desert; that is, into the place of silence and
                          solitude. Only in solitude can we achieve that
                          detachment that frees us to seek God in our lives.
                          That is why Merton always saw the monastic setting
                          as the ideal locus for contemplation....."Physical
                          solitude, exterior silence and real recollection
                          are all morally necessary for anyone who wants to
                          lead a contemplative life."
                          Can one find sufficient solitude to become
                          a contemplative in the urban setting in which most
                          people are destined to live out their lives?
                          Merton's answer would be: only with great, if not
                          insurmountable, difficulty. In a celebrated
                          passage, which impresses more by its earnestness
                          than its practicability, Merton suggests how one
                          may try to find solitude in the city.

                          Do everything you can to avoid the amusement
                          and the noise and the business of men. Keep as far
                          away as you can from the places where they gather
                          to cheat and insult one another, to exploit one
                          another, to laugh at one another, or to mock one
                          another with their false gestures of friendship.
                          Do not read their newspapers, if you can help it.
                          Be glad if you can keep beyond the reach of their
                          radios. Do not bother with their unearthly songs
                          or their intolerable concerns for the way their
                          bodies look and feel.
                          Do not smoke their cigarettes or drink the
                          things they drink or share their preoccupation
                          with different kinds of food. Do not complicate
                          your life by looking at the pictures in their
                          magazines. Keep your eyes clean and your ears
                          quiet and your mind serene. Breath God's air.
                          Work, if you can, under his sky.
                          But if you have to live in a city and work
                          among machines and ride in the subways and eat
                          in a place where the radio makes you deaf with
                          spurious news and where the food destroys your
                          life and the sentiments of those around you
                          poison your heart with boredom, do not be upset,
                          but accept it as the love of God and as a seed
                          of solitude planted in your soul, and be glad
                          of this suffering; for it will keep you alive
                          to the next opportunity to escape from them and
                          be alone in the healing silence of recollection
                          and in the untroubled presence of God.

                          Actualizing my capacities for contemplation
                          requires an existential freedom which liberates
                          me from the illusion of my false self that would
                          keep me living in a world of unreality. It
                          requires moral freedom that detaches me from
                          the selfish desires, cares, and ambitions - even
                          spiritual ones - that interfere with my search
                          for God.
                          There is yet another type of freedom needed
                          for the contemplative experience, and that is
                          what Merton calls intellectual freedom, or the
                          freedom from concepts and images of created things.
                          For the goal of contemplation is to meet at my
                          center God as He is in Himself. And yet "we cannot
                          know Him as He really is unless we pass beyond
                          everything that can be imagined and enter into
                          an obscurity without images and without the
                          likeness of any created thing."

                          (From 'Thomas Merton's Dark Path' by William H. Shannon, pgs. 46-48)

                          Bob M.
                        • Bob Michael
                          Despite its technical strength Merton saw the United States to be spiritually superficial and weak with a great potential for evil in its sense of mass
                          Message 12 of 12 , Feb 29, 2008
                            Despite its technical strength Merton saw
                            the United States to be spiritually superficial
                            and weak with a great potential for evil in
                            its sense of mass responsibility shielded
                            behind a veil of altrusism. ['Man Before God' - Kelly]

                            Bob M.
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