Getness

“I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.”
(Thomas Merton)

“To me the converging objects of the universe flow.  All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means.”**
(Walt Whitman)

Getness is a life posture or attitude.

To learn from those who have gone before opens new learning to us, not because we have to learn for the sake of learning – though it seems we must as a species – but because we know so much and still get things horribly wrong.

Thomas Merton wrote to Rachel Carson on the publication of her book Silent Spring which identified the poisoning of the planet through chemicals:

“you are, perhaps without altogether realising, contributing a most valuable and essential piece of evidence for the diagnosis of the ills of our civilisation’.

Carson’s book was written in 1962 and yet we hare witnessing the denial of the evidence, of what we know, in the highest echelons of power fifty five years later.

Erich Fromm writes about the difference between Western and Eastern thinking:

‘In Taoist thinking, just as in Indian and Socratic thinking, the highest step to which thought can lead us is to know that we do not know.’^^

Fromm goes on to draw on the thinking of philologist Max Müller who wrote:

“not to know know [and yet think] we do know is a disease’.*^

To be open to learn more and still understand that we do not know is what getness is about and we need more if it.

(*Thomas Merton, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**Walt Whitman, quoted in Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)
(^Thomas Merton, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Technology, Wisdom and the Difficulty of Civilisational Awareness.)
(^^From Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving.)
(*^Max Müller, quoted in Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving.)

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