Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the news

"Nine-tenths of the news, as printed in the papers, is pseudo-news, manufactured events. Some days ten-tenths. The ritual morning trance, in which one scans columns of newsprint, creates a peculiar form of generalized pseudo-attention to a pseudo-reality. This experience is taken seriously. It is one's daily immersion in "reality." One's orientation to the rest of the world. One's way of reassuring himself that he has not fallen behind. That he is still there. That he still counts!

"My own experience has been that renunciation of this self-hypnosis, of this participation in the unquiet universal trance, is no sacrifice of reality at all. To "fall behind" in this sense is to get out of the big cloud of dust that everybody is kicking up, to breathe and to see a little more clearly."

- Thomas Merton, p151, Faith and Violence. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968


  1. very good - it's easy to get addicted to the "news" especially when you get hooked on the rush of indignation.

  2. Indeed, Gunz. That "rush of indignation" is addicting. The first step is seeing (and admitting) that this is a problem.

  3. Beth -

    I could not agree more. After you have spent some precious time reading the paper, checking out the web news, you come to the realization that is all nonsense.

    ** In 2002, my son Matt gave me "New Seeds of Contemplation" for Fathers Day. I picked it up a again a few days ago and I can not put it down. What a great book - what insight!