Archive for the Martin Luther King Jr. Category

The deeper reasons for the “war on drugs”

Posted in 9/11, activism, Afghanistan, American politics, analysis, banks, Chomsky, CIA, civil liberties, class, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, detention centers, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, fascism, fascist, freedom, geopolitics, Global War on Terrorism, globalism, globalization, health, human rights, imperialism, Iraq, jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., Middle East, money, must-read, neo-feudalism, oil, peace, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, politics, politics of oil, propaganda, sociology, sovereignty, truth, U.S., war, war crimes, war on democracy, War on Terror, wellness, work with tags , on September 30, 2013 by jtoddring

There is a deeper reason for the war on drugs, which is the central reason for the policy, even outweighing profits from private prisons and seizure of property by law enforcement officers, both of which no doubt are also significant and strong motivations for keeping the “war on drugs” going.

Nearly thirty years ago, Chomsky said that the US and other leading industrial nations are being “third-worldized” – they are being turned into third world nations, where a tiny elite owns and runs the country, a small privileged class serves the ruling few, and the rest live in a sea of poverty and destitution.

He pointed out that with the advent of corporate globalization, which began in earnest in the 1970’s, and with the off-shoring of production as well as profits – which is the central fact and pattern of globalization, of course – what used to be a large middle class work force became superfluous and obsolete.

Millions of people who used to have decent jobs would now become unemployed or join the ranks of the desperate working poor as factories closed and moved to Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, India or China. What used to be the middle class of North America are now just a bunch of discontent people who are no longer needed, and who are not only disposable, but in the way – and a threat to the ruling powers, since they are rightfully unhappy about being driven into poverty and insecurity.

“What are you going to do with them?” Chomsky asked, then answered his own question. “Well, one thing you can do is to put them in prison. Then you have what amounts to slave labour, because you can make them work for essentially nothing. I think that is what is happening.” (Sorry, I haven’t heard this clip of him saying that for over twenty years, so I may be paraphrasing somewhat, but that is the gist of it.)

So what is the real reason for the so-called “war on drugs”? To remove large segments of the population, especially discontent youth, who may turn to serious political action – following in the footsteps of the Black Panthers, Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr., for example – and put them in prison, where they can be more easily controlled, and where they can be made to do forced labour for fifty cents and hour, or something like that – probably less in most cases – and in this way, make extra profits for the big corporations that are increasingly relying on prison labour, while keeping the rabble in line. It is a brilliant plan – if you’re a sociopath, and the ruling elite truly are that.

What does the future hold? Detention centres and prison labour for many more people, I am afraid, unless the ruling corporate elite are deposed and thrown from power.

Note also that keeping drugs illegal keeps street prices high, and this is a part of the real motives for the war on drugs, as Gerald Celente has pointed out. It’s not in order to benefit the small-time dealer on the street corner – it’s for the benefit of the big traffickers, like the CIA.

Illegal drugs are a $500 billion a year industry world-wide, and the CIA controls the bulk of the cocaine and heroin traffic. One of the main reasons for the war in Afghanistan, along with oil interests and a certain pipeline, was to return control of opium production to the CIA, after the Taliban had burned the crops, which instantly turned them from an unofficial friend into an official enemy. After the US invasion of Afghanistan, the opium was replanted and global heroin sales resumed, with the CIA firmly in control of this giant money-making machine (See Michael Ruppert, Peter Dale Scott and others.)

The entire US economy is now propped up by drug money, as are Wall Street and the big banks, who rely on the daily flood of liquidity from drug money laundering. (See Catherine Austin Fitts and Max Keiser.)

If we want a more sane, just and health-promoting policy on drugs, and not the present one, which destroys millions of lives, fuels organized crime, gang activity, violence and wars, and imprisons millions for non-violent “crimes” of possession of criminalized substances, then we will have to take on the new empire of global corporate rule, and defeat it. This may sound like a large task, and it is, but the tide is turning, and this is entirely possible.

We have a choice: throw the plutocrats, the corporate elite from power, or watch the continued third-worldization of the formerly wealthy nations, the continued drive toward a global neo-feudal world order, the continued growth of prison populations and prison labour, the continued drive toward a global police state, and the continued war on democracy, freedom, civil liberties and the vast majority of the people by the stratospherically rich, who, by the way, only seem to know one word, as Chris Hedges has said: and that is, “more.”

The war on drugs, like the war on terrorism, is part of a broader campaign of class warfare being conducted by the world’s ruling billionaires and their criminal friends in high places, against the other 99.99% of the population. If we don’t understand this, then we really don’t understand the matter at all.

The “war on drugs,” and the “war on terror,” have nothing to do with their stated objectives of controlling drugs and protecting the people from terrorism. As Chomsky said, if we want to stop terrorism, there is an easy way to do it: stop participating in it. What he meant was that the US is the leading terrorist power in the world, dwarfing all others combined. Official terrorism accounts for 20,000 deaths a year. Unofficial terrorism, meaning, the kind that we do, by waging murderous illegal wars around the world, for example, has accounted for over a million deaths in Iraq alone. There is simply no comparison. It’s like comparing a small-time local thug or neighbourhood bully with the Godfather.

Abolish the CIA (do we really need this criminal goon squad, in addition to sixteen other known US intelligence agencies?); shut down the CIA detention centres and black sites; close the School of the Americas – which has been the world’s leading terrorist training camp for decades, located on the Fort Benning US military base in Georgia; and stop arming, supporting, training and funding terrorist organizations and local thugs, dictators and war lords around the world. Then you will see terrorism decline to levels that are a tiny fragment of what they are now. But of course, the ruling business elite and their political allies don’t want to do that, because the present arrangement benefits them handsomely, and they are making a killing.

Likewise, if you want to reduce harm and deaths from drug use, stop letting the CIA flood the world with crack, cocaine and heroin; and put bankers in jail for laundering drug money on a daily basis and a giant, global scale.

The “war on drugs” and the “war on terror” have nothing to do with their publicly stated intentions – they are a conscious and very deliberate war on the people, on civil liberties, democracy and freedom, by the ruling few who profit from these actions greatly. They are also a part of the grand plan of turning the world into a feudal society and a labour camp – a giant pyramid, with the astronomically rich at the top, ruling over all; a few privileged ones loyally serving them, like courtesans or well-paid prostitutes; and the rest abandoned to a sea of poverty, or corralled and contained in prisons to be kept under control or used as slave labour.

End the empire of corporate rule, or watch the world go into a very dark age. These are our two, and only two real choices now.

J. Todd Ring,
September 30, 2013

A few quotes, by way of introduction

Posted in activism, Buddha, civil liberties, class, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, democracy, elite, empowerment, end-game, fascism, freedom, human rights, Jefferson, Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., media analysis, people's movements, philosophy, police state, political philosophy, politics, quotes, Thoreau, truth, Uncategorized with tags on April 26, 2008 by jtoddring

A few quotes, to introduce myself, and to give some glimpse into who I am, what I value, and what has inspired me:

Compiled for a publisher, and reprinted here as an introduction to this blog and this writer, and also as a sort of short-hand preface to my (first) book, which should be released shortly.

My apologies for the chaotic mix of fonts – Blogger must be one of the worst digital publishing platforms available, but I have put too much effort into this site to easily switch, and have neither the technical savvy nor the patience to labor over its bugs. Sooner or later I do transfer all articles from this site to the far superior format at WordPress, so you can check there for a more esthetically soothing format if you like. (I would transfer the entire site to WordPress in an instant if I knew how to transfer the enormous body of links and resources that have been compiled on the Blogger site. For now, there are two sites – one that works well, and one with an excellent resource directory. Maybe someone more technically literate can help me figure out how to bridge the two.)

WordPress: Writings of J. Todd Ring

I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. – Thomas Jefferson

For reasons I do not fully understand, fiction dances out of me. Non-fiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning. – Arundhati Roy

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. – Henry David Thoreau

The theme of much of what I write, fiction as well as non-fiction, is the relationship between power and powerlessness and the endless, circular conflict they’re engaged in….I believe that the accumulation of vast unfettered power by a State or a country, a corporation or an institution — or even an individual, a spouse, friend or sibling — regardless of ideology, results in excesses such as the ones I will recount here.

Arundhati Roy

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. – Thoreau

If necessary, let us forgo one bridge across the river, go `round a little there, and throw at least one span across the greater gulf of ignorance that surrounds us. – Henry David Thoreau

In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change or accident. – Thoreau

I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind. – Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. – The Buddha

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. – Albert Einstein

A single step on the path of enlightenment is greater than being the ruler of the universe. – The Buddha

When I reflect upon the ruts in a road, I am forced to think, how much deeper the ruts of the mind. – Thoreau

It is never too late to give up your prejudices. – Thoreau

Life is rounded by a little sleep. – Shakespeare

Only that day dawns to which we are awake. – Thoreau

A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. – Thoreau

(TV is perhaps the most ugly, pathetic and vacuous example, next to heroine. – JTR)

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. – Thoreau

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. But it is uncharacteristic of wisdom to do desperate things. – Thoreau

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? – Thoreau

Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. – Thoreau


It’s not enough to be busy. The question is: what are we busy about?

– Thoreau

I do not wish, when I come to the end of this life, to find I had not lived. – Thoreau

They are busy, as an old book says, laying up treasures that moths and rust will corrode, and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find out at the end of it, if not sooner. – Thoreau

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. – Thoreau

Silence is the communing of a conscious soul with itself. If the soul attend for a moment to its own infinity, then and there is silence. She is audible to all men, at all times, in all places, and if we will we may always hearken to her admonitions. – Thoreau

We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten. – Thoreau

The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything it is very likely to my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? – Thoreau

I became convinced that non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

The truth must be told.

A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order, and say of war, this way of settling differences is not just…cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love.

A nation that continues year after year, to spend more money on military defense (sic) than on social uplift, is approaching spiritual death.

It is a sad fact…the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world, have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries.

Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit, and go out into a sometimes hostile world, declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism and militarism.

I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism. We are presently moving down a dead end road.

All men are brothers. All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither derived by nor conferred from the state. They are God-given.

I have not lost faith. I’m not in despair. I haven’t lost faith because…

You shall reap what you sow.

With this faith we shall be able to speed up that day, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

With this faith we will be able to speed up the day, when all over the world, we will be able to join hands, and sing in the words of the old negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last.””

– Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything.

George Soros

They must find it difficult…those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority. – Gerald Massey

Where is the knowledge that is lost in information?

Where is the wisdom that is lost in knowledge?

T.S. Elliot

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated thanthe man who reads nothing but
newspapers. – Thomas Jefferson

The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination seesin every object only the tracts which
favor that theory. – Thomas Jefferson

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attendingtoo much liberty than to those attending
too small adegree of it. – Thomas Jefferson 
I have no fear that the result of our experiment will bethat men may be trusted to govern themselves
without amaster. – Thomas Jefferson

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind. – Thomas Jefferson

Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.

– Thomas Jefferson


If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American,it is that we should 
have nothing to do with conquest.
                 - Thomas Jefferson
 

If there is anything which it is the duty of the whole people to never entrust to any hands but their own – that thing is the preservation of their own liberties and institutions.

Abraham Lincoln

The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. – Abraham Lincoln, September 17, 1859, in a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio

A diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty. – James Madison 1825

I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another. – Thomas Jefferson

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies … If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] … will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent [that] their fathers conquered. – Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the re-charter of The Bank Bill, (1809)

I do verily believe that a single, consolidated government would become the most corrupt government on the earth. – Thomas Jefferson to Gideon Granger, 1800

Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constituteso strong an 
attachment as that from which they draw
their gains. – Thomas Jefferson 
The purpose of economic competition is to eliminate competition.
                - John Kenneth Galbraith

I hope we shall crush in its infancy the aristocracy of our monied corporationswhich dare already 
to challenge our government to a trial
by strength, and biddefiance to the laws of our country. – Thomas Jefferson 
The country is headed toward a single and splendid government of anaristocracy founded on 
banking institutions and monied incorporationsand if this tendency continues it will be the 
end of freedom and democracy,the few will be ruling and riding over the plundered plowman 
and the beggar in the omenry. – Thomas Jefferson
 

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism: ownership of a government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Society must take every means at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence of a parallel power which defies the elected power. – Pierre Elliot Trudeau

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remainsilent. 
            – Thomas Jefferson
Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue,and prepares 
fit tools for the designs of ambition. – Jefferson 
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.– Jefferson 

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. – Albert Einstein

Put fear behind and save the country. – Simon Bolivar

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

– Eleanor Roosevelt.

No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields. – Thoreau

Public opinion is a weak tyrant, compared with our private opinion–what a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates his fate. – Thoreau

The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly. – Thoreau

I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another. – Jefferson

The future holds ominous portent, and signs of great hope. Which result ensues depends largely upon what we make of the opportunities.

– Noam Chomsky

The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences…

– Winston Churchill, on facing the threat of fascism (the first time)

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. – Martin Luther King Jr.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. – Thoreau

Ultimately, men hit only what they aim for; therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim high. – Thoreau

There is more day yet to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
– Henry David Thoreau

It aint’ over `till it’s over.

– Yogi Beara

Favourite Quotes

Posted in Buddha, Chomsky, economy, empire, fascism, FDR, Jefferson, Jesus, life, Martin Luther King Jr., Media, Mussolini, philosophy, politics, quotes, spirituality, Thoreau, truth, work on April 13, 2007 by jtoddring


I.

 

While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings. – Thoreau, Walden

If necessary, let us forgo one bridge across the river, go `round a little there, and throw at least one span across the greater gulf of ignorance that surrounds us.

– Thoreau, Walden

 

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

Walden, Henry David Thoreau


There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

– Thoreau, Walden

 

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. – The Buddha


 

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~Albert Einstein

 

 

There is more to heaven and earth than is contained in your philosophy.

– Shakespeare

 

 

It is better to follow one’s own dharma, no matter how imperfectly, than to follow that of another. – The Upanishads

(Dharma in this context means one’s true nature, one’s true path.)

 

 

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 

I sometimes despair of getting anything accomplished with the help of my fellow man; you would have to put their minds through a kind of powerful vice first, to squeeze their olds ideas out of them. – Thoreau, Walden


Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned anything of absolute value by living. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

When I reflect upon the ruts in a road, I am forced to think, how much deeper the ruts of the mind. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

It is never too late to give up your prejudices. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

Life is rounded by a little sleep.

– Shakespeare

 

Only that day dawns to which we are awake. – Thoreau, Walden

 

I do not wish, when I come to the end of this life, to find I had not lived.

– Thoreau, Walden


We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten. – Thoreau

 

 

The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything it is very likely to my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? – Thoreau, Walden


 

In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change or accident. – Thoreau

 

 

That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it. – Thoreau

 

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

Silence is the communing of a conscious soul with itself. If the soul attend for a moment to its own infinity, then and there is silence. She is audible to all men, at all times, in all places, and if we will we may always hearken to her admonitions. – Thoreau

 

The only Zen you find on the mountain top is the Zen you bring with you.

– unknown

 

 

I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind.

– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

See what is before your nose and all will be revealed.

– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

The kingdom of heaven is within you.

– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth, and men see it not.

– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

The priests are like dogs that lay in the manger, for they do not eat, and they do not let the cattle eat. – Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

I have never met a man who was fully awake; if I did, how could I look him in the eye? – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

 

 

 

II.

They are busy, as an old book says, laying up treasures that moths and rust will corrode, and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find out at the end of it, if not sooner. – Thoreau, Walden


 

Our lives are frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify!

– Thoreau, Walden


 

Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul. – Thoreau

 

 

Most men are engaged in business the greater part of their lives, because the soul abhors a vacuum, and they have not discovered any continuous employment for man’s nobler faculties. – Thoreau

How trivial and uninteresting and wearisome and unsatisfactory are all employments for which men will pay you money! – Thoreau

… I do not need the police of meaningless labor to regulate me…. – Thoreau, Life Without Principle (LWP)

Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. – Thoreau (LWP)

The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. – Thoreau (LWP)

The community has no bribe that will tempt a wise man. You may raise money enough to tunnel a mountain, but you cannot raise money enough to hire a man who is minding his own business. An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. – Thoreau (LWP)

If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living. All great enterprises are self-supporting. The poet, for instance, must sustain his body by his poetry, as a steam planing-mill feeds its boilers with the shavings it makes. You must get your living by loving. – Thoreau (LWP)

It is remarkable that there is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting a living; how to make getting a living not merely holiest and honorable, but altogether inviting and glorious; for if getting a living is not so, then living is not. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual’s musings. Is it that men are too much disgusted with their experience to speak of it? The lesson of value which money teaches, which the Author of the Universe has taken so much pains to teach us, we are inclined to skip altogether. As for the means of living, it is wonderful how indifferent men of all classes are about it, even reformers, so called- whether they inherit, or earn, or steal it. I think that Society has done nothing for us in this respect, or at least has undone what she has done. Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off. – Thoreau (LWP)

If a man has spent all his days about some business, by which he has merely got to be rich, as it is called, i.e., has got much money, many houses and barns and woodlots, then his life has been a failure, I think; but if he has been trying to better his condition in a higher sense than this, has been trying to invent something, to be somebody, – i.e., to invent and get a patent for himself – so that all may see his originality, though he should never get above board – and great inventors, you know, commonly die poor – I shall think him comparatively successful. – Thoreau

 

A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. – Thoreau, Walden

(TV is perhaps the most ugly, pathetic and vacuous example, next to heroine. – JTR)

 

 

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. But it is uncharacteristic of wisdom to do desperate things. – Thoreau, Walden


 

It’s not enough to be busy. The question is: What are we busy about?

– Thoreau, Walden


 

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. – Thoreau, Walden


 

Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.

– Thoreau, Walden

 

 

 

No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields. – Thoreau, Walden


 

Public opinion is a weak tyrant, compared with our private opinion–what a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates his fate. – Thoreau, Walden


 

The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly. – Thoreau, Walden


 

 

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. – Thoreau, Walden

 

Ultimately, men hit only what they aim for; therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim high. – Thoreau, Walden

III.

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. – Martin Luther King Jr.

 

I have to believe the American people are the most systematically lied to people on earth – if I didn’t, I would believe they were the most evil.
– Former foreign minister for Nicaragua

 

 

Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the media.

Noam Chomsky


 

I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.

Noam Chomsky

(The same could be said for the people of any of the “leading” industrial nations.)

 

 

I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have…..But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

– Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience

 

 

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

 

 

Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

 

 

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

 

 

 

 

IV.

All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

 

The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer. – Henry A. Kissinger

 


Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad. – Henry A. Kissinger (One of the 90%.)

Quite generally, international affairs have more than a slight resemblance to the Mafia. The Godfather does not take it lightly when he is crossed, even by a small storekeeper.” – Noam Chomsky


“The Constitution is just a piece of paper” – G.W. Bush

“It is impossible to understand the current U.S. policy if the real scope of September 11 is underestimated. The attacks perpetrated at that moment were a coup d’état. The war on terror is based on a myth and has become a compulsory state religion since such developments took place. The only way to fight against neoconservatives is by destroying this myth.” – U.S. journalist Webster Tarpley

In many regions of the world, democracy, freedom and human rights are seen as cynical slogans, Orwellian double-speak, mouthed by those who want oil and other natural resources, and the strategic pathways, such as Afghanistan, that lead to these resources.

– James Laxer

The so-called war on terror is really a struggle in which the United States and its allies are attempting to impose their hegemony on a large part of the world.

– James Laxer

 

 

I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government, enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretense of governing, they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate…Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor. – Thomas Jefferson, 1787

 

 

What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment and death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment, inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose. – Thomas Jefferson

 

 

I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. – Thomas Jefferson

 

 

This country is headed toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institution and monied incorporations and if this tendency continues it will be the end of freedom and democracy. – Thomas Jefferson, 1816

 

 

The bank mania…is raising up a monied aristocracy in our country which has already set the government at defiance, and although forced at length to yield a little on this first essay of their strength, their principles are unyielded and unyielding. These have taken deep roots in the heart of that class from which our legislators are drawn, and the sop to Cerebus from fable has become history. – Thomas Jefferson, 1817

 

Once a nation parts with control of its currency and credit…all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and democracy is idle and futile. – Mackenzie King, 1935

 

I hope we shall…crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country. – Thomas Jefferson, 1816

 

 

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism

because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

– Benito Mussolini

 

“Private enterprise cannot be maintained in the age of democracy; it is only conceivable if the people have a sound idea of authority.”

– Adolph Hitler, speaking to a key meeting of Germany’s business elite, 1933.

 

 

The next election will be “the last one for the next 10 years, probably even for the next 100 years.” – Goering, following up on Hitler’s statement above, at the same meeting.

 

 

“We’re Philip Morris. We’ve got more money than God.”

– Guy Smith, Philip Morris executive.

 

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism: ownership of a government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

“Society must take every means at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence of a parallel power which defies the elected power.” – Pierre Elliot Trudeau

Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.
Mohandas Gandhi

Socialists think profits are a vice; I consider losses the real vice.

– Winston Churchill

 

If you take all these bills together, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that what we have here is a road map for, essentially, I am not exaggerating, a military junta, really in the hands of four cabinet ministers who can delegate right down to the ground. That what’s happening. If you look at, and there’s no argument against this if you look at the legislation, it is so offensive…The last point I want to make about this globalization and the militarization of that agenda is that if you look at the definition of terrorism, what they have done is very reptilian, very slippery…how broad the net has been cast.

– Canadian constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati on the post-9/11 “anti-terrorism” laws


 

The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other–instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals. – Edward Abbey


 

“It should not be denied any longer: America is hurtling along the road to full-fledged fascism. To recognize this is the necessary first step in deflecting the juggernaut and creating the possibility of more peaceful tomorrows. It is legitimate and also necessary to correctly employ the power of naming.” – Barry Zwicker

 


If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. ~ James Madison

We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction. (…)

In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to “be liked” or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and—for the Far East—unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

– Preeminent post-war long-term strategic planner for the U.S. National Security Council, George F. Kennan, from the formerly top-secret, now de-classified 1948 State Department Brief: NSC 68


 

 

“The U.S. has routinely destroyed democracy throughout the globe while its leaders spout words about spreading democracy.

“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism….

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

“During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

– Major-General Smedley Butler, 1933.

 

If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest. – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 3rd American President

 

 

V.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

– Martin Luther King Jr.


 

The future holds ominous portent, and signs of great hope. Which result ensues depends largely upon what we make of the opportunities.

– Noam Chomsky

 

 

It aint’ over `till it’s over.

– Yogi Beara

 

 

The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences… – Winston Churchill, on facing the threat of fascism (the first time)

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance of our neglect. “The moving finger write, and having writ moves on …”
We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

Martin Luther King, Jr, April 4, 1967


 

The coward will ask is it safe?…Vanity, is it politically expedient or popular? But conscience will always ask, is it right?

– Mahdi Bray

Those who would trade a little liberty for a little security, deserve neither. – Benjamin Franklin

Hope is not for wimps; it is for the strong-hearted who can recognize how bad things are and yet not be deterred, not be paralyzed. – Frances Moore Lappe

 

“Just because you bury your head in the sand doesn’t mean the headache will go away.”

– Italian saying

 

 

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. – Thomas Jefferson

“Liberty demands responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – GBS

 

 

There is more day yet to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden


 

If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

– Emma Goldman

 

 

Despite everything, I still believe people are basically good at heart.

– Anne Frank

 

 

The unity of the race of man, not only in its biology but also in its spiritual history…has everywhere unfolded in the manner of a single symphony, with its themes announced, developed, amplified and turned about, distorted, reasserted, and today, in a grand fortissimo of all sections sounding together, irresistibly advancing to some kind of mighty climax, out of which the next great movement will emerge.

– Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.

– Indian writer Arundhati Roy,
World Social Forum, 2003

 

 

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

– Geothe

 

 

 

 

Thomas Merton: My Favorite Monk "If you’re afrai…

Posted in Martin Luther King Jr., philosophy, spirituality, Thomas Merton on December 3, 2006 by jtoddring

Thomas Merton:
My Favorite Monk

“If you’re afraid to write something that might offend someone, why write anything at all.”
– Thomas Merton

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness…[W]e are in the same world as everybody else, the world of the bomb, the world of race hatred, the world of technology, the world of mass media, big business, revolution, and all the rest …. This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud …. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
– Thomas Merton

“[The] real sense of our own existence, which is normally veiled and distorted by the routine distractions of an alienated life, is now revealed in a central intuition. What was lost and dispersed in the relative meaninglessness and triviality of purposeless behavior (living like a machine, pushed around by impulsions and suggestions from others) is brought together in fully integrated conscious significance.”
– Thomas Merton

“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely.”
– Thomas Merton

And one of my greatest heroes:
Martin Luther King Jr.

“Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think the cause that we represent is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage. And I can’t let the people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage they will begin to get weak. And it seemed at that moment that I could hear an inner voice saying to me, “Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And to I will be with you, even until the end of the world.” …Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared.”
– Martin Luther King

A Hidden Wholeness:
Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Recognition of the interrelatedness of all persons, they claimed, lays upon all people of good will the radical obligation of compassion. Beyond barriers of race, nationality, and religion, we must identify ourselves with the poor, the oppressed, the wretched of the earth. It is our calling to become the voice of the voiceless, the face of the faceless, to an unheeding and uncaring society. For ultimately, according to King and Merton, there are no aliens, no enemies, no others, but only sisters and brothers. However, this kind of identification, if it is to be authentic instead of merely sentimental, requires suffering. Love in reality, unlike love in dreams, is a harsh and dreadful thing (as Fr. Zossima and Dorothy Day remind us). Compassion requires kenosis, self-emptying sacrifice. kenosis might take the shape of solitude and silence as it did for Merton — the lonely self-emptying experience of nothingness that opens out into frightening darkness. Or, kenosis might take the form of altruistic activism, as it did for King – the daily burden of exhausting dedication to the schedules, needs, and demands of others. In either case, the cross must be born. Compassion demands it. As both men knew well, the pattern had been set long ago by the person they tried to follow: “Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).

“In the end, Merton’s path and King’s, the contemplative way and the activist way, met at the symbol of reconciliation, agape, and compassion — the cross. Their lives bore complementary witness to the profound meditation of an earlier disciple upon that same cross:
We know what love is by this: that he laid down his life for us so that we ought to lay down our lives for others. But whoever possesses this world’s goods and notices his brother in need and shuts his heart against him, how can the love of God remain in him? Dear children, let us put our love not into words or into talk but into deeds… (I John 3:16-18).

Albert J. Raboteau: A Hidden Wholeness: Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr.

IDEAS – HERETIC BLOOD: THE SPIRITUAL GEOGRAPHY OF THOMAS MERTON

Posted in Martin Luther King Jr., philosophy, spirituality, Thomas Merton on December 3, 2006 by jtoddring

Thomas Merton:
My Favorite Monk

“If you’re afraid to write something that might offend someone, why write anything at all.”
– Thomas Merton

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness…[W]e are in the same world as everybody else, the world of the bomb, the world of race hatred, the world of technology, the world of mass media, big business, revolution, and all the rest …. This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud …. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
– Thomas Merton

“[The] real sense of our own existence, which is normally veiled and distorted by the routine distractions of an alienated life, is now revealed in a central intuition. What was lost and dispersed in the relative meaninglessness and triviality of purposeless behavior (living like a machine, pushed around by impulsions and suggestions from others) is brought together in fully integrated conscious significance.”
– Thomas Merton

“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely.”
– Thomas Merton

And one of my greatest heroes:
Martin Luther King Jr.

“Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think the cause that we represent is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage. And I can’t let the people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage they will begin to get weak. And it seemed at that moment that I could hear an inner voice saying to me, “Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And to I will be with you, even until the end of the world.” …Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared.”
– Martin Luther King

A Hidden Wholeness:
Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Recognition of the interrelatedness of all persons, they claimed, lays upon all people of good will the radical obligation of compassion. Beyond barriers of race, nationality, and religion, we must identify ourselves with the poor, the oppressed, the wretched of the earth. It is our calling to become the voice of the voiceless, the face of the faceless, to an unheeding and uncaring society. For ultimately, according to King and Merton, there are no aliens, no enemies, no others, but only sisters and brothers. However, this kind of identification, if it is to be authentic instead of merely sentimental, requires suffering. Love in reality, unlike love in dreams, is a harsh and dreadful thing (as Fr. Zossima and Dorothy Day remind us). Compassion requires kenosis, self-emptying sacrifice. kenosis might take the shape of solitude and silence as it did for Merton — the lonely self-emptying experience of nothingness that opens out into frightening darkness. Or, kenosis might take the form of altruistic activism, as it did for King – the daily burden of exhausting dedication to the schedules, needs, and demands of others. In either case, the cross must be born. Compassion demands it. As both men knew well, the pattern had been set long ago by the person they tried to follow: “Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).

“In the end, Merton’s path and King’s, the contemplative way and the activist way, met at the symbol of reconciliation, agape, and compassion — the cross. Their lives bore complementary witness to the profound meditation of an earlier disciple upon that same cross:
We know what love is by this: that he laid down his life for us so that we ought to lay down our lives for others. But whoever possesses this world’s goods and notices his brother in need and shuts his heart against him, how can the love of God remain in him? Dear children, let us put our love not into words or into talk but into deeds… (I John 3:16-18).

Albert J. Raboteau: A Hidden Wholeness: Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr.

IDEAS – HERETIC BLOOD: THE SPIRITUAL GEOGRAPHY OF THOMAS MERTON

Posted in Martin Luther King Jr., philosophy, spirituality, Thomas Merton on December 3, 2006 by jtoddring

Thomas Merton:
My Favorite Monk

“If you’re afraid to write something that might offend someone, why write anything at all.”
– Thomas Merton

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness…[W]e are in the same world as everybody else, the world of the bomb, the world of race hatred, the world of technology, the world of mass media, big business, revolution, and all the rest …. This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud …. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
– Thomas Merton

“[The] real sense of our own existence, which is normally veiled and distorted by the routine distractions of an alienated life, is now revealed in a central intuition. What was lost and dispersed in the relative meaninglessness and triviality of purposeless behavior (living like a machine, pushed around by impulsions and suggestions from others) is brought together in fully integrated conscious significance.”
– Thomas Merton

“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely.”
– Thomas Merton

And one of my greatest heroes:
Martin Luther King Jr.

“Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think the cause that we represent is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage. And I can’t let the people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage they will begin to get weak. And it seemed at that moment that I could hear an inner voice saying to me, “Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And to I will be with you, even until the end of the world.” …Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared.”
– Martin Luther King

A Hidden Wholeness:
Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Recognition of the interrelatedness of all persons, they claimed, lays upon all people of good will the radical obligation of compassion. Beyond barriers of race, nationality, and religion, we must identify ourselves with the poor, the oppressed, the wretched of the earth. It is our calling to become the voice of the voiceless, the face of the faceless, to an unheeding and uncaring society. For ultimately, according to King and Merton, there are no aliens, no enemies, no others, but only sisters and brothers. However, this kind of identification, if it is to be authentic instead of merely sentimental, requires suffering. Love in reality, unlike love in dreams, is a harsh and dreadful thing (as Fr. Zossima and Dorothy Day remind us). Compassion requires kenosis, self-emptying sacrifice. kenosis might take the shape of solitude and silence as it did for Merton — the lonely self-emptying experience of nothingness that opens out into frightening darkness. Or, kenosis might take the form of altruistic activism, as it did for King – the daily burden of exhausting dedication to the schedules, needs, and demands of others. In either case, the cross must be born. Compassion demands it. As both men knew well, the pattern had been set long ago by the person they tried to follow: “Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).

“In the end, Merton’s path and King’s, the contemplative way and the activist way, met at the symbol of reconciliation, agape, and compassion — the cross. Their lives bore complementary witness to the profound meditation of an earlier disciple upon that same cross:
We know what love is by this: that he laid down his life for us so that we ought to lay down our lives for others. But whoever possesses this world’s goods and notices his brother in need and shuts his heart against him, how can the love of God remain in him? Dear children, let us put our love not into words or into talk but into deeds… (I John 3:16-18).

Albert J. Raboteau: A Hidden Wholeness: Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr.

IDEAS – HERETIC BLOOD: THE SPIRITUAL GEOGRAPHY OF THOMAS MERTON