Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Year With Thomas Merton - April 18

Taking Political Action
Bright noon sun and warmth. I left the refectory early and, as I was hurrying across the Night Pasture, I could hear the echo of Fr. Raymond's urgent shouts (he is reader in the refectory) relayed over a loudspeaker in the empty barns and in the farm building. It is characteristic of us that all our noise has to be heard everywhere.
To what extent is it simply a temptation for me to want to take some political position, as distinct from an ethical one? Are the two separable, for instance, where war is concerned? One thing is sure--it is beginning to be clear that opposition to nuclear war is something else than being simply a "pacifist." Also, opposition on the moral level demands some kind of open expression of one's position.
The question is--how to clearly, definitely and openly make such a stand without lending oneself to exploitation by one or another of the big power groups?
Reading Chuang Tzu. I wonder seriously if the answer, the only possible answer, does not lie hid far below the political and ethical levels. Ethics, and politics, certainly, but only in passing, only as a "night's lodging"? When all action has somehow become absurd, shall one act merely because at some other times action was once expected and significant? Like setting the dinner table in a time of starvation when you have no food, but setting it out anyway, out of habit?
April 8, 1961, IV.106-7

1 comment:

  1. To some extent, some more lint navel-picking from dear Fr. Merton, but maybe important to keep in mind when making a political decision based on one's faith.