Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Collective Delusion Which Promises Happiness

Monroe County

In the spiritual life "doing" comes from "being," not vice versa. If doing does not come from being then doing is irrelevant and inauthentic. All doing not rooted in and emergent from being is experientially meaningless.

Western culture is populated by people who do not know who they are. Western folk "do" a lot, but find no meaning in all they are doing. We are a consummately bored people living in a world with more options than anyone in history has ever had. "Boredom" is not having nothing to do; "boredom" is finding no meaning in what you are doing.

Thomas Merton discerned this situation. Here is Merton, writing in 1960:

"Though man has acquired the power to do almost anything, he has at the same time lost the ability to orient his life toward a spiritual goal by the things that he does. He has lost all conviction that he knows where he is going and what he is doing, unless he can manage to plunge into some collective delusion which promises happiness (sometime in the future) to those who will have learned to use the implements he has discovered."
- Merton, Disputed Questions