Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Can we really solve all our problems (on our own)?



Merton4_webNever before has there been such a distance between the abject misery of the poor (still the great majority of mankind) and the absurd affluence of the rich. Our gestures at remedying this situation are well meant but almost totally ineffective. In many ways they only make matters worse (when for instance those who are supposed to be receiving aid realize that in fact most of it goes into the pockets of corrupt politicians who maintain the status quo, of which the misery of the poor is an essential part.)

The problem of racism -- by no means confined to the southern United States, South Africa, or Nazi Germany --is becoming a universal symptom of homicidal paranoia. The desperation of man who finds existence incomprehensible and intolerable, and who is only maddened by the insignificance of the means taken to alleviate his condition.

The fact that most men believe, as an article of faith, that we are now in a position to solve all our problems does not prove that this is so. On the contrary, this belief is so unfounded it is itself one of our greatest problems.

Thomas Merton
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, pp. 60-61


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