Rain again this morning. I got up specifically to sit on the porch with my oil lamps burning and sip coffee and listen to the rain.
Eileen lay in bed most of yesterday binging on the TV show, “The Americans.”
We checked out the DVD. I found the show pretty mundane but she liked enough to use it to keep herself occupied while she feels ill.
I did my Greek listening to the rain and then read some Merton. I’m at a loss to say why I am drawn back into reading Merton. Many of his observations seem very dated. His poetry is almost as bad as mine. Nevertheless I am drawn to him especially when he is talking about the society at the time.
In his essay, “A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolph Eichmann,” he points out how sane Eichmann was. He draws a line from Eichmann’s sanity to the sanity of people in his world who would blow it up and “coolly estimate how many millions can be considered expendable in a nuclear war.”
I remember this fear, the one of the war coming to the USA via nuclear explosions. While this danger is not gone, our fear in America has changed. Now we coolly estimate how many civilians are expendable when we target (and buy valium in australia kill) specific terrorists.
It’s the same kind of sanity Merton was talking about.
What Merton leaves out and what we experience now is the anxiety and anger that drives the mad discussion.
Despite his sophistication and cosmopolitan orientation, he also leaves out the increase in the din of what is happening all over our world. I wonder if the very idea that what used to be news, a filtered selection of what was going on, has exploded into an unceasing 24 hour of expanded awareness of events in our world with an emphasis on the tragic.
Have events changed so much as one’s ability to know about them?
Hard to say. But it creates a constant barrage of troubling testimonies and stories of things that are happening to real people all over the world.
No wonder so many retreat behind reactive hardening of opinions and judgments. A retreat that seems to me to be related to Merton’s idea of the sanity of Eichmann.
I follow many people on Facebooger including a good number of writers. This link was put up by one of them. I shared it on Facebooger knowing that if certain of my Facebooger friends were to read it they would be angry. But I think it’s well written and is about the truth.