Friday, July 30, 2010

Merton on words, nothingness, silence and being

In the silence of Quaker meetings I sometimes approach the kinds of revelations Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, poet and social activist, shares here.

Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being.

From moment to moment I remember with astonishment that I am at the same time empty and full.

There is a silent self within us whose presence is disturbing precisely because it is so silent: it can’t be spoken.

Life is not accomplishing some special work but attaining to a degree of consciousness and inner freedom which is beyond all works and attainments. That is my real goal. It implies "becoming unknown and as nothing."

I looked upon what was nothing. I touched what was without substance,
and within what was not, I am.

Taken from “You Don’t Have to be Buddhist to Know Nothing” ed. Joan Konner.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Reframed news blames the messenger

The Obama Administration is reacting exactly the way the last Bush Administration would to WikiLeak's revelations, ("Afghan War Diaries, 2004-2010,").

What's happening in the current news cycle is "reframing" the news. The Administration's spinmeisters are shifting the media focus from message to messengers.

That's to be expected in a political, bureaucratic culture of deceit. Both administrations have been publicly embarrassed by the disasters they have created — Obama in Afghanistan and Bush in Iraq (and to a lesser extent Afghanistan).

The indignation of the White House and the Pentagon ("How dare the media tell the truth?") only underscores our problem. When our leaders wrap themselves in the flag of "national security," they only make us less secure.

Generals, politicians, pundits, think-tank defense "analysts" and administration "security officials" who describe the disclosures as a threat to the nation and the troops have it exactly upside down. These disclosures clearly show that the White House and the Pentagon are the real threats to our security.

Our government, to whom the military is supposed to answer (one wonders. . .), needs to be reminded that it is acting in our name. That's "we" as in "We, the people."

And "We, the people," are paying a heavy price for tragic, futile attempts at nation building far away.

In these troublesome times, the nation we should be building is our own.

So we should be grateful for the WikiLeaks disclosures. Particularly grateful should be the soldiers who suffer and die because of our failed policies.

Thank you to WikiLeaks and the media that amplified these revelations.

And shame on those who vilify the messengers of truth.

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