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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness

Category Archives: quotes

merton.jpgA theology of love cannot afford to be sentimental. It cannot afford to preach edifying generalities about charity, while identifying “peace” with mere established power and legalized violence against the oppressed. A theology of love cannot be allowed merely to serve the interests of the rich and powerful, justifying their wars, their violence, and their bombs, while exhorting the poor and underprivileged to practice patience, meekness, longsuffering, and to solve their problems—if at all, nonviolently.

The theology of love must seek to deal realistically with the evil and injustice in the world, and not merely to compromise with them. Such a theology will have to take note of the ambiguous realities of politics, without embracing the specious myth of a “realism” that merely justifies force in the service of established power. Theology does not exist merely to appease the already too untroubled conscience of the powerful and the established. A theology of love may also conceivably turn out to be a theology of revolution. In any case, it is a theology of resistance, a refusal of the evil that reduces a brother to homicidal desperation.

(from Faith and Violence, Thomas Merton)


This is a powerful way in which Thomas Merton can speak to our theology today. Surely, it does not do all the thinking for us, but it does teach us to think – it is when our untroubled conscience jolted, when thoughts stimulate the mind, the heart and the hands that contemplation truly begins.   


kinokuniya.jpgWhy do I read novels?

The shelves at Kinokuniya pride themselves with an ‘ivory-tower’ of intellectual works, opulent facts; facts which provide us with comprehensive intellectual and historical frameworks to understand the world today. But isn’t it true that facts are not just simply known, or read off the world? Isn’t it true that how we perceive, group and organize features that exist intends our ‘truths’ and ‘facts’? Pages that divulge lofty ideas and fix-it answers are, on the other hand, deafening voices of certainty and authority. We fill ourselves with so much answers that I think we begin to lose ourselves and become the answers we sought. Isn’t our journey about owning up to our search for meaning and not just depending on off-the-shelf softwares we install and run conveniently? Yet, all these sell best.

I told Jen that reading novels help me feel human again. Unpretentious, humble and full of flaw and imperfection. ‘Real’ not because they can be empirically or logically proven, either through discourses or concensus. But real. And yes, to quote Kundera (yes, him again), ‘the stupidity of people comes from having an answer to everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything…it seems to me that all over the world people nowadays prefer to judge rather than to understand, to answer rather than to ask, so that the voice of the novel can hardly be heard over the noisy foolishness of human certainties’.


Watched it over the weekend…

God: I now issue a new commandment: Thou shalt do the dance.

In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

– Mark Twain – Notebook, 1904


Truth is a power. But one can see that only in rare instances, because it is suffering and must be defeated as long as it is truth. When it has become victorious others will join it. Why? Because it is truth? No, if it had been for that reason they would have joined it also when it was suffering. Therefore, they do not join it because it has power. They join it after it has become a power because others had joined it.

– Soren Kierkegaard