Monday, February 1, 2021

self as “not the other”


The heresy of individualism; thinking oneself
 a completely self-sufficient unit 
and asserting this imaginary “unity” against all others.
 The affirmation of the self as simply “not the other.” 
But when you seek to affirm your unity by denying 
that you have anything to do with anyone else, 
by negating everyone else in the universe until you come down to you: 
what is there left to affirm? 
Even if there were something to affirm, 
you would have no breath left with which to affirm it.
The true way is just the opposite: 
the more I am able to affirm others,
 to say “yes” to them in myself,
 by discovering them in myself and myself in them, 
the more real I am. I am fully real
 if my own heart says yes to everyone.

~ Thomas Merton
from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
with thanks to louie, louie