part of an immense whole

A flash of sanity: the momentary realization that there is no need to come to certain conclusions about persons, events, conflicts. trends, even trends toward evil and disaster, as if from day to day, and even from moment to moment, I had to know and declare (at least to myself) that this is so and so, this is good, this is bad. We are heading for a “new era” or we are heading for destruction. What do such judgments mean? Little or nothing. Things are as they are in an immense whole of which I am a part and which I cannot pretend to grasp. To say I grasp it is immediately to put myself in a false position, as if I were “outside” it. Whereas to be “in” it is to seek truth in my own life and action, moving where movement is possible and keeping still when movement is unnecessary, realizing that things will continue to define themselves and that the judgments and mercies of God will clarify themselves and will be more clear to me if I am silent and attentive, obedient to His will rather than constantly formulating statements in this age which is smothered in language, in meaningless and inconclusive debate in which, in the last analysis, nobody listens to anything except what agrees with his own prejudices.

– Thomas Merton, journal entry, March 2, 1966

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