All Of Us Are Wrong – 10 quotes from Thomas Merton’s writings – Turning Toward the World: The Journals of Thomas Merton 1960-1963
1. Life is our destiny
“Life is our destiny whether we want it or not… Man is not, and cannot be, a mere ephemeral thing. But if he wills to be evanescent, to remain in what is not, he is a living contradiction.”
2. All of us are wrong in one way or another
“And doubtless the truth is that all of us are wrong in one way or another. And the ways in which we are ‘right’ are so illusory as to be non-existent…”
3. Do I want to act?
“Do I want to act? I am afraid I am only too glad to let myself be ‘held’ in a position where I am unable to move, and only complain weakly to conceal from myself the fact that I enjoy this inertia. If this is true, how can I claim to have any honesty left, or any honor?”
4. Slowly strangled
“We are being slowly strangled by our own economic system…”
5. Intensifying our despair
“What is worse in the world is the apathy, the helplessness, the despair of men, especially of the intellectuals. Others continue to fill the air with the noise of deceptive hopes – thus intensifying our despair.”
6. An escapist, a snob, a narcissist
“I have a natural tendency to become an escapist, a snob, a narcissist…”
7. A perfect spiritual humility and a total openness
“True Buddhism as I understand it is a perfect spiritual humility and a total openness…”
8. Stand on your own feet
“This is a very significant observation. It ought to be obvious, but is not, because there are so few Christians who are really able to stand on their own feet, and not propped up by reactionaries of the right on one side or those of the left on the other… But who is there who can stand in the middle and go his own way as a Christian? Probably there are some, but not as many as claim to be.”
9. Accept what vulnerability I have
“Yet I think I can dare to accept what vulnerability I have (largely my own fault perhaps) as that of an exile, an alien, and feel it also as that which is normal for all the poor. Should it not be normal for me? Then why do I resent it? Because that is part of the wound!”
10. Slowly coming to a point of maturation
“I am perhaps at a turning point in my spiritual life: perhaps slowly coming to a point of maturation and the resolution of doubts – and the forgetting of fears…”
Do you believe that you are probably wrong about everything?
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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