Alienation is for everybody

While searching for something else I stumbled upon an essay* Thomas Merton wrote in 1968, and this quote. It still applies today – only a thousandfold:

“Modern literature is by and large a literature of alienation, not only because we are painfully living through the collapse of a culture but because today we have more culture and more civilization than we know what to do with. There are not only the simple, beautiful, wild, honest ceremonial masks once affected but the Kwakiutl Indians…but today we smother under an overproduction of masks and myths and personae. We all have to try to be fifty different people. We all can refuse some of the more absurd and unacceptable roles, but not many can refuse as much as they would like to, and no one can refuse them all.”

Later on Merton states:

“The culture built on death: the convergence of affluence and death wish, the root of our tragedy.”


*The title of the essay is “Why alienation is for everybody.”