Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Merton and Materialism

In his Journal (III, 238), Thomas Merton complains about materialistic America and "The overwhelming welter of meaningless objects, goods, activities. . ." but nonetheless returns to his monastery at Gethsemane, Kentucky laden down with "a pile of paper-back books, the New Republic, Dissent, and even, with shame, Time...."

You see, Tom, without capitalism, none of this would be available, none of the trash, but also none of the good stuff: no freedom to inquire, to read anything and everything, to publish and enjoy a readership, to make a fool of yourself, or to pursue enlightenment in your beautiful monastery, healthy and well-fed, free of grinding poverty.