"The solitary is first of all one who renounces this arbitrary social imagery. When his nation wins a war or sends a rocket to the moon, he can get along without feeling as if he personally had won the war or hit the moon with a rocket. When his nation is rich and arrogant, he does not feel that he himself is more fortunate and more honest, as well as more powerful than the citizens of other, more "backward" nations. More than this: he is able to despise war and to see the futility of rockets to the moon is a way quite different and more fundamental from the way in which his society may tolerate these negative views. That is to say, he despises the criminal, bloodthirsty arrogance of his own nation or class, as much as that of "the enemy". He despises his own self-seeking aggressivity as much as that of the politicians who hypocritically pretend they are fighting for peace."
- Thomas Merton, Notes for a Philosophy of Solitude, in the book Disputed Questions (New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1960) p. 187
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
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