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Thoughts on Thomas Merton?
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Thoughts on Thomas Merton?
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he's awesome

I think he has a lot in common with the so-called Traditionalist school of Perennial Philosophy: the best reaction to modernity is to rebuild the connection with man's past via an established tradition's spirituality (as opposed to neo religion or new age practices).

His pioneering of (a slow, careful, patient) religious dialogue with the Buddhists and his emphasis on creating a society that reflects traditional mores (ie, without the stifling poverty and warfare of modern industrial nations) are probably no less important (one of his students was Ernesto Cardenal).

His writing is great and he had the kind of knowledge one finds in the heads of professors of religion.
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>>7621093
Do you have any suggestions of where to start with his work?
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>>7621155
Seven Storey Mountain of course.
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>>7621014
i find him more sincere than other modern scholars and i like his works
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>>7621162
Thanks.
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>>7621014
I've read The Way of Chuang Tzu more than any other book and I bring it with me everywhere I go

He seems genuine and humble as well which is nice
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>>7621093
>the best reaction to modernity is to rebuild the connection with man's past via an established tradition's spirituality
Is this even possible anymore? Seems like it would take some serious LARPing.
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>>7621014
the seven storey mountain is a wheezy fucking drag t.bh
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>>7621459
>Seems like it would take some serious LARPing.
Like those white supremacist guys who are into Norse Paganism because they think Christianity is Jewish.
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>>7621486
That would take even more LARPing, but even becoming a Catholic in your twenties after a lifetime of irreligion seems nearly impossible to me.
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I think *Christian* mysticism is good.However, trying to apply Eastern heathen mysticism to Christianity is not a good idea.

There are many things heathens can teach us. Theology isn't one of them.
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>>7621568
Plenty of saints converted in their 20's or later.
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>>7621594

Constantine you can fuck right off. Merton was not for a second attempting to fuse religions or learn theology from Buddhists. Why don't you read him sometime? Zen and The Birds of Appetite is a good starting point.
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>>7621602
Living in the year 1000 or 2016 matters a lot for the context though.
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>>7621568
Nah, I didn't get religious until I was 18
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>>7623356
Most Catholic writers or at least a large number in the 20th century were religious and in context of philosophy nothing has changed, except a bit more positivism as a reaction to postmodernism.
So Chesterton, Wolfe, and Lewis and Elliott, not sure about Greene, but certainly Endou.
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>>7623333
He was an actual heretic later on in life. A certain part of his works are deemed heretical by the holy inquisition mememing 40k here but yeah they are hardly orthodox.
But yeah Constantine can fuck off because he even rejects everything platonic meaning 80% of early church writings.
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>>7623364
How did that come about?

>>7623380
Religion was alive and well in society for most of the (early) twentieth century in ways that it isn't now though. Being a devout Catholic in 1930 was way less of an ordeal and an oddity than nowadays, at least here in Western Europe.
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>>7623400
>>7623400
Fuck I just lost a wall of text.
Anyway these authors wrote for decades during the whole century and time still hasn't filtered good things out for contemporary authors.
But we have new philosophers like Feser in the field.
Merton wrote post wwii and so did Wolfe. It's less common but there is a revival within our generation in some places.
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>>7623426
I guess I mostly have a hard time understanding the psychology of it. I don't mean to be edgy, but I don't think I could start sincerely believing in 'a dead jew on a stick who is god incarnate sacrificing himself to save humanity' tomorrow, to put it in fedoric terms.

Maybe it's being raised in a secular fashion, but while I can see the beauty and the benefits of a religious life the idea of making the leap seems completely absurd and impossible to me. I have a hard time understanding how people can just opt into a new belief system like that.
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>>7623446
>I guess I mostly have a hard time understanding the psychology of it. I don't mean to be edgy, but I don't think I could start sincerely believing in 'a dead jew on a stick who is god incarnate sacrificing himself to save humanity' tomorrow, to put it in fedoric terms.

It would require a long process probably of reading conversation novels as well as religious philosophy and spirituality.

>Maybe it's being raised in a secular fashion, but while I can see the beauty and the benefits of a religious life the idea of making the leap seems completely absurd and impossible to me. I have a hard time understanding how people can just opt into a new belief system like that.

You don't opt over night. It took Augustine like 30 years to convert and Chesterton wrote tons of sceptical and atheist works before his conversion. Wolfe married a Catholic and was irreligious a while before getting his hands on Chesterton.
It is probably best to start with something like platonism imo, believing in Forms or essence or similar concepts separate of religious ideas is often the required step unless you are a kierkegaardian fideist where you look at the meaningless of the world and chose the view which makes sense of everything necessary existence wise.
It's a very complete view as it encompasses everything, like Aquinas who wrote about just about everything
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>>7623468
Wouldn't such a wilful self-indoctrination progress stemming from the need to react to the problems encountered in modernity necessarily have a touch of bad faith to it though?
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>>7623478
Not necessarily, but it may for some. All conversions are specific and it's hard to generalize outside wide strokes.
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>>7623478
And interest in exploring something isn't something I would classify as wilful self indoctrination.
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>>7623492
I would if one does it as part of a deliberate 'belief system shopping' effort though, although I assume there are more accidental ways of stumbling upon your faith that started with mere curiosity.

How did it come about for yourself?
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>>7623504
If one approches it like that I would agree, but from what I've read it's never like that, at least not from relevant spiritual authors. Shopping religions is a new age thing.
I've been raised in a Catholic family and always had my views challenged by friends, none of whom are religious in any way. This prompted my interest in literature and philosophy which lead me to faith. Due to my family I probably had it easier since I had guidance, my father is what I would classify as a wise man.
In terms of when I truly embraced faith, I was 18 and had a very romantically turbulent summer, was madly in love. I read Brothers Karamazov and Book of the New Sun while resonated with me more than sum of everything else I've read, even 3 years later combined. I visited a national marian shrine and experienced what was essentially complete spiritual peace for a moment. It's a sensation beyond anything I could describe, uncomparable to all else. It was otherworldly.
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>>7623356
No it doesn't
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>>7623536
Cultural context always matters.
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