Attached To Our Inner Egoism – 9 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – Seeds of Destruction

by Mark Votava

41pOurJW4eL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_1. The providential character of this hour

“Is the white man really in a position to recognize the providential character of this hour?…”

2. Can no longer be contained by token concessions

“…for revolutions are always the result of situations in which the drive of an underprivileged mass of men can no longer be contained by token concessions, and in which the establishment is too confused, too inert and too frightened to participate with the underprivileged in a new and creative solution of what is realized to be their own common problem.”

3. It is not by words only that we speak

“It is not by words only that we speak. Our aims, our plans of action, our outlook, our attitudes, our habitual response to the problems and challenges of life, ‘speak’ of our inner being and reveal our fidelity or infidelity to ourselves. Our very existence, our life itself contains an implicit pretension to meaning, since all our free acts are implicit commitments, selections of ‘meanings’ which we seem to find confronting us. Our very existence is ‘speech’ interpreting reality. But the crisis of truth in the modern world comes from the bewildering complexity of the almost infinite contradictory propositions and claims to meaning uttered by millions of acts, movements, changes, decisions, attitudes, gestures, events, going on all around us. Most of all a crisis of truth is precipitated when men realize that almost all these claims are in fact without significance when they are not in great part entirely fraudulent.”

4. The universal common good

“If the person is to function rationally as a member of society, he must meet others on a common ground of reason. Common decisions and efforts which must be orientated toward the universal common good…”

5. Collaboration is manifestly impossible without mutual trust

“But rational collaboration is manifestly impossible without mutual trust and this in turn is out of the question where there is no basis for sure communication. Not only is communication lacking: it is blocked. It is fiercely resisted by groups and nations which close themselves and refuse to communicate with one another except by ultimatums and threats of destruction…”

6. Prisoners of the same illusion

“All white men together, in spite of their fantasies of innocence, are prisoners of the same illusion, seduced by their own slogans, obsessed by the voice of an inner demon. They have no better alternatives than the passivities and oral fantasies of the consumer’s dream-world and the violent barbarities with which they react, when briefly awakened, to all that threatens to contradict their infantile dream.”

7. Lamentable injustices and cruelties

“…white society has sinned in many ways. It has betrayed Christ by its injustices to races it considered ‘inferior’ and to countries which it colonized. In particular it has sinned against Christ in its lamentable injustices and cruelties…”

8. Prosperity is rooted in injustice

“…prosperity is rooted to some extent in injustice and in sin.”

9. Attached to our inner egoism

“One must know what are the real attachments in his soul before he can effectively work against them, and one must have a detached will in order to see the truth of one’s attachments. In practice, the events of life bring us face to face, in painful situations, with the places in which we are attached to our inner egoism…”

Are you attached to your inner egoism?

Purchase Seeds of Destruction

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

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“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist