Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - June 21

What Makes Me Tick

Fear of ignorance that comes from clinging to a stupid idea. Fear of ignorance that comes from submersion in the body, in surrender to the need for comfort and consolation. Yet, at the same time, one must not fear that possibility of relative lucidity in all these things, provided they are understood. There is a little lucidity in religion, but there is also the danger of being engulfed more or less easily in all this. My great fear is then the fear of surrendering to sham lucidity and to the “one source” theory of lucidity—clinging to one kind of affirmation and excluding everything else—which means sinking back into ignorance and superstition. One of the worst sources of delusion is, of course, an exclusive attachment to supposed “logic” and reason. Worse still when the logic and reason are centered on what claims to be religious truth. This can be as deep a source of blindness as any in the world, sex included. One always has to distinguish and go beyond: one has to question reason in order to get to the deeper awareness of reality that is built into life itself. What I fear is living in such a way that life becomes opaque and one-sided, centered on one thing only, the illusion of the self. Everything else has to be defined in relation to this kind of ignorance. Once this is understood, you can understand what makes me run—not only run in the sense of escape but run in the sense of tick.

June 22, 1966, VI.332-33

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