Conjectures Of A Guilty Bystander By Thomas Merton
1374 Words6 Pages
To be human is to be distinctly different. Different from the rest of the world's life. We’re different in the way we move, communicate, feel, different in the way we think. With all our differences it becomes to be hard to see the similarities to the nature around us. In From Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton presents a paradoxical look at our human condition that follows this thought. That as humans we get too focused on being human and what it means to be human. We get so focused on ourselves that we forget what it means to be anything else. We start to see ourselves as separate from the rest of the world. This is something to feel “Guilty” about, for we don't stop at just thinking it we believe we are separate. In this belief…show more content… The true problem Humanity is to face is not identifying what it is to be human. No the true problem humanity faces is separating itself from its place in nature.
So how do we solve this paradox of our own human existence? We first have to establish that there is a problem to fix. Much like Rene Descartes’s method of doubts we have to first cut the problem into manageable sizes. First off why do we want to separate ourselves from nature? In short we separate our selves as stated in the beginning to give us a further sense of identity and security in the way we live. secondly in what ways do separates ourselves from the nature we were born from. As expressed in the essay, one fundamental differences is our habit of planning. Our understanding of time has increased and so with it has our horizon of it. We cut our lives into chunks that can be uniformly categorized and planed out. Now what is wrong with this, how does this contribute to our distancing from the world around us? This aspect is immeasurably useful to us, it propelled us into the way we live today; without good planning we could not of accomplished the goals that further…show more content… Plato believed that we needed to think for ourselves. That if we were to follow blindly the public they would lead us astray. And so they have “Wisdom cries the dawn deacon, but we do not attend.” as put in the last line of Merton's essay. We do not attend because humans are creatures of habit and packs. The public leads us away from this idea of happiness among the simpleness of nature and we follow it. We need to steer away from the public view and truly think for ourselves to find our happiness. Kant also had a similar view to Plato in regards to nature Plato believed that nature represented gentleness, harmony balance and peace and that these were all things we as humans studied for. And that through these we can educate our souls. However Plato also believed in the happy mediums. That a truly happy person is on neither extremes of a trait but a fine balance in between. If one goes to a party it does him no happiness to be shy and not talk to anyone as it does no good to want to talk to everyone and be the constant center of attention. One needs to find their happy medium. This should be applied to our happiness in nature argument. As we as humans could not just drop all that we are and live in nature that would be impossible and counterproductive to being