Thomas Merton on ‘one’s daily immersion in “reality”‘

“Nine tenths of the news, as printed in the papers, is pseudo-news, manufactured events. Some days ten tenths. The ritual morning trance, in which one scans columns of newsprint, creates a peculiar form of generalized pseudo-attention to a pseudo-reality. This experience is taken seriously. It is one’s daily immersion in ‘reality.’ One’s orientation to the rest of the world. One’s way of reassuring himself that he has not fallen behind. That he is still there. That he still counts! My own experience has been that renunciation of this self-hypnosis, of this participation in the unquiet universal trance, is no sacrifice to reality at all. To ‘fall behind’ in this sense is to get out of the big cloud of dust that everybody is kicking up, to breathe and to see a little more clearly.”

– Thomas Merton. Faith and Violence (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968), 151.

[HT: Kim Fabricius]


  1. Sadly, Tom Merton fell prey to another “self-hypnosis”, in an Eastern mysticism, and the Lord took him! Such is the thought of many Catholic Christians anyway.


  2. Ha! You always find the perfect pics for these thoughts.

    I’ve been chewing through Vincent Miller’s Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture, and there’s lots to share with Merton’s thought here. We need frequent detox!


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