Thomas Del Prete on Thomas Merton’s epistemology

Paintings by Cosmocto (Sala Diaz, San Antonio, Texas: May 21, 2010)

Paintings by Cosmocto (Sala Diaz, San Antonio, Texas: May 21, 2010).
Photograph by: Gregory Foster

What [Thomas] Merton does, in terms of knowing and knowledge, is to capture anew a quality of knowing alien to our modern and western consciousness, one that reflects an integral relationship between mind and heart, between lived inner experience and insight, between intellect and intuition, and between understanding and being. This way of knowing seems an important, if not necessary basis for growth in wisdom and contemplative awareness. In fostering it, Merton provides a striking and instructive contrast to the all-too-familiar approach in which learning is construed as a matter of acquisition, of absorption, control, and manipulation of information by a detached and unreflective individual, or as a purely cerebral act. Merton’s understanding of the purpose and manner of knowing implies a profound interior or ontological openness and attentiveness, and the possibility of a new, renewed, or deeper re-orientation of self in love. As he put it simply, “We study in order to love.”
Thomas Del Prete in his speech “The Contemplative as Teacher: Learning from Thomas Merton” presented at the first general meeting of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Southampton, England: May 1996).

Thomas Del Prete Thomas Merton Posted on behalf of and on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 under Quotations.

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