Merton’s Journal

Calcutta is shocking because it is all of a sudden a totally different kind of madness,    the reverse of that other madness, the mad rationality of affluence and overpopulation. America seems to make sense, and is hung up in its madness, now really exploding. Calcutta has the lucidity of despair, of absolute confusion, of vitality helpless to cope with itself. Yet undefeatable, expanding without and beyond reason but with nowhere to go, as if waiting for someone to lead them in an ultimate exodus into reasonableness, into a world that works, yet knowing already beyond contradiction that in the end nothing really works, and that life is all anicca, dukkha, anatta, that each self is the denial of the desires of all the others- and yet somehow a sign to others of some inscrutable hope. And the thing that haunts me: Gandhiji led all these people, exemplified the sense they might make out of their life, for a moment, and then, with him, that sense was extinguished again.
–Thomas Merton, Asian Journal

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *