Friday, November 11, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - November 11

The Struggle to Keep Awake

A long and good letter from Jaime Andrade from Quito. He speaks at length about my idea for a foundation in Quito and says I would be caught in the middle between an extremely reactionary clergy and ruling class and a red intelligentsia and would be fired at from both sides, which I think is true. And that is going to be necessarily a part of anything loving and useful I may do--because I cannot produce anything good if I identify myself too closely either with the Reds or with Capitalism. The vocation of a very good writer and spiritual man today lies neither with the one or the other, but beyond both. Heartily agree with Czeslaw Milosz's conclusions at the end of his very fine book The Captive Mind.

What matters is not to line up with the winning side but to be a true and revolutionary poet.

The struggle to keep awake on this island of Lotus Eaters.

November 13, 1958, III.231

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