“Seriousness” and “Achievement”

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By Thomas Merton

In our society, a society of business rooted in puritanism, based on a pseudoethic industriousness and thrift, to be rewarded by comfort, pleasure and a good bank account, the myth of work is thought to justify an existence that is essentially meaningless and futile.

 

There is, then, a great deal of busy-ness as people invent things to do when in fact there is very little to be done. Yet we are overwhelmed with jobs, duties, tasks, assignments, and “missions” of every kind.

At every moment we are sent north, south, east and west by the angels of business and art, poetry, and politics, science and war, to the four corners of the universe to decide something, to sign something, to buy and sell. We fly in all directions to sell ourselves, thus justifying the absolute nothingness of our lives.

The more we seem to accomplish, the harder it becomes to really dissimulate our trifling, and the only thing that saves us is the common conspiracy not to advert to what is really going on.

Thomas Merton

Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Published by jeffw5382

Stumbling spiritual pilgrim on my way from here to here. Recovered Addict, US Navy Veteran. Sharing my journey of self discovery, in the spirit of service, generosity and gratitude.

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