From ‘Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander’, by Thomas Merton (1966)

photo by SF 2022 (CC BY-NC-ND)

“The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

[see also Jack Kornfield’s more recent, pithy take on the topic; and Thich Nhat Hahn’s own wording]

From ‘Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander’, by Thomas Merton (1966)

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