“There were two pockets which we could not enter: these he called his fobs; they were two large slits cut into the top of his middle cover, but squeezed close by the pressure of his belly. Out of the right fob hung a great silver chain, with a wonderful kind of engine at the bottom. We directed him to draw out whatever was at the end of that chain; which appeared to be a globe, half silver, and half of some transparent metal; for, on the transparent side, we saw certain strange figures circularly drawn, and thought we could touch them, till we found our fingers stopped by the lucid substance. He put this engine into our ears, which made an incessant noise, like that of a water-mill: and we conjecture it is either some unknown animal, or the god that he worships; but we are more inclined to the latter opinion, because he assured us, (if we understood him right, for he expressed himself very imperfectly) that he seldom did any thing without consulting it. He called it his oracle, and said, it pointed out the time for every action of his life. . . .”
Gulliver’s Travels, Chapter II
From the Lilliputians Report on the Man Mountain
Numbers are of no relevance . . . because absurd media pundits are not swayed by facts. In the United States, there have been nearly 900,000 gun fatalities in the last 30 years or so (1980 to present) compared to around 3,400 terrorism-related fatalities in the last 40 years or so (1970 to present). These figures include victims of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
— Ramzy Baroud, Dissident Voice
The bombing goes on in Vietnam. The whole thinking of this country is awry on war: basic conviction that force is the only thing that is effective. That doubtless it is in many ways not “nice” but one must be realistic and use it, with moral justification so as not to be just gangsters as “they” are (the enemy). Thus there is determination to settle everything by force and to make sure one’s force is verbally justified.
It is not altogether easy to make an act of faith that all of history is in God’s hands. But history is in the hands of God, and the decisions of men lead infallibly to the full expression of what is hidden in them and in their society. The actions of the U. S. in Asia are God’s judgment on the U. S. We have decided that we will police the world — by the same tactics used by the police in Alabama: beating “colored people” over the head because we believe they are “inferior.” In the end, an accounting will be demanded.
We have to see history as a book that is sealed and opened by the Passion of Christ. But we still read it from the viewpoint of the Beast. Passion of Christ = the passion of the poor, the underprivileged, etc. Viewpoint of the Beast: self-righteousness and cruelty of power. Hubris of human might and technological efficiency. But the same cruelty is bred by this hubris in the weak, who grow strong by resisting it and overcoming it — to be proud in their turn. Christ remains in agony until the end of time, and in His agony Christ triumphs over all power.
Journals, 22 May 1965, V.249-250
Also available in Kindle format: A Year with Thomas Merton