Saturday, January 28, 2012
A Year With Thomas Merton - January 28
Seeing the Center from Somewhere Else
The year of the dragon has so far distinguished itself by strong, lusty winds--great windstorm the other night, some trees blew down in the woods near the hermitage (one across the path going up). Pine cones and bits of branches all over the lawn.
The need for constant self-revision, growth, leaving behind, a renunciation of yesterday, yet in continuity with all yesterdays (to cling to the past is to lose one's identity with it, for this means clinging to what was not there). My ideas are always changing, always moving around one center, always seeing the center from somewhere else. I will always be accused of inconsistencies--and will no longer be there to hear the accusation.
"What makes us afraid is our great freedom in face of the emptiness that has still to be filled" (Karl Jaspers). And again these concluding words from the arresting little pamphlet on The European Spirit: "The philosophically serious European is faced today with the choice between opposed philosophical possibilities. Will he enter the limited field of fixed truth which in the end has only to be obeyed; or will he go into the limitless open truth?...Will he win this perilous independence in perilous openness, as in existential philosophy, the philosophy of communication in which the individual becomes himself on condition that others become themselves, in which there is no solitary peace but constant dissatisfaction and in which a man exposes his soul to suffering?"
January 25 and 26, 1964, V.67-68