Saturday, July 8, 2017

resisting error

Associated Press Photo, North Korea, 2017
"We are living under a tyranny of untruth which confirms itself in power and establishes a more and more total control over men in proportion as they convince themselves they are resisting error.

"Our submission to plausible and useful lies involves us in greater and more obvious contradictions, and to hide these from ourselves we need greater and ever less plausible lies.

"The basic falsehood is the lie that we are totally dedicated to the truth, and that we can remain dedicated to truth in a manner that is at the same time honest and exclusive: that we have the monopoly of all truth, just as our adversary of the moment has the monopoly of all error.

"We then convince ourselves that we cannot preserve our purity of vision and our inner sincerity if we enter into dialogue with the enemy, for he will corrupt us with his error. We believe, finally, that truth cannot be preserved except by the destruction of the enemy -- for, since we have identified him with error, to destroy him is to destroy error. The adversary, of course, has exactly the same thoughts about us and exactly the same basic policy by which he defends the "truth." He has identified us with dishonesty, insincerity, and untruth. He believes that, if we are destroyed, nothing will be left but the truth."

-- Thomas Merton, "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander", p. 68

2 comments:

  1. Wow. Was just reading that book today. Put it down for a while bc I need some fiction. Elmer Gantry did the trick. Funny how things are so connected. At my usual 7am spot, the reason for moving to the city I'm in, on 4th and Muhammed Ali.

    I'm very thankful to have found your blog today, in the most unlikely of ways. I was lead to an older post about the Merton as Mirror, bc I googled who the patron saint of digestion was lol.

    Funny how things are so connected. Lol.

    Thank you for this.

    ReplyDelete

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