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No Man Is an Island by Thomas Merton

No Man Is an Island (1955)

by Thomas Merton

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First published in the mid-1950s, this book of reflections will occasionally require some deciphering since the language is that of the Roman Catholic Church before Vatican II and therefore a bit outdated at times. Merton always rewards his readers, in this case with penetrating insights about such topics as love, solitude, spiritual development and sincerity. Each chapter is on a theme including the ones just listed, and divided into shorter sections which are self-contained reflections on those themes. Not the first Merton book I would recommend, but one to read slowly, savor, ponder, and keep handy to refer to over and again. ( )
  nmele | Apr 19, 2019 |
5th impression in 1981 f 1955 edng. Formerly in the library of St Joseph's House of Prayer, burn Hall, Durham
  holycrossabbey | Jul 4, 2018 |
Le nostre famiglie, le nostre comunità e la nostra cultura ci fanno quello che siamo. Una volta diventati quello che siamo, siamo ancora impensabili al di fuori dei nostri gruppi di appartenenza. Su di un'isola deserta formeremmo una associazione per giocare a pallone, se ne troviamo uno. Se una nuova infrastruttura si presenta e ci permette di entrare in contatto con tutti gli altri sul pianeta e ci mette in condizione di inventare nuovi tipi di connessioni, questa sarà una bella notizia! E' il caso di Internet. Ci offre l'opportunità di ripensare molte cose di quelle che pensavamo con le nostre presupposizioni circa la nostra natura e quella del mondo circostante.

Our families, our communities and our culture make us what we are. Once we are what we are, we are still unthinkable outside our groups with whom we live. On a desert island we’ll form an association with a ball if we can find one. So if a new infrastructure comes along that allows us to connect with everyone else on the planet and to invent new types of connections, this is big news indeed! This is the case with Internet. It gives us an opportunity to rethink many of our presuppositions about our nature and our world’s nature.

Le nostre connessioni sociali finora sono state ristrette dalla geografia e dagli atomi del mondo reale. La Rete è un mondo non naturale, un mondo che ci siamo costruiti noi stessi. I fatti della natura fuoriescono dalla Rete. Siamo in grado di renderci conto di quanto della nostra socialità sia dovuta non al mondo reale ma alla nostra stessa natura. La Rete ci fa confrontare con la cruda realtà, ci fa capire che siamo creature che si prendono cura di se stessi e con il mondo che condividiamo con gli altri. Viviamo in un contesto di significati: il mondo è più ricco di significati, più di quanto noi possiamo immaginare.

Our social connections until now have been constrained by geography and atoms: the real world. The Web is an unnatural world, one we have been built for ourselves. The facts of nature drop out of the Web. We can see reflected in the Web just how much of our sociality is due not to the nature of the real world but to the nature of ourselves. The Web confronts us with the brute fact that we are creatures who cares about ourselves and the world we share with others. We live within a context of meaning: the world is richer with meaning than we can imagine. ( )
  AntonioGallo | Nov 2, 2017 |
It took me a year and a half to read this book. I never really got into it. ( )
  MrDickie | Jul 12, 2017 |
To begin, a confession. I only read a portion of this book. I read the Prologue, the first chapter, on Love, the first parts of the second chapter, on Hope, and a few scattered bits of the remaining fourteen chapters. I just did not have the stomach for it. I am a pastor in the Reformed tradition, affirming the biblical truths laid out in the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort. Merton was a Roman Catholic priest, of the mystical variety, and I couldn't make any theological sense out of what he was writing in what I read of this book. Some people may consider Merton to be a spiritual master. My impression from what I read here would be pseudo-spiritual master. About the only thing that was clear in what I read of this book is that Merton was a Universalist, although he did not clearly state that as his position, rather leaving it to be implied through the many repeated ways in which he seemed to affirm that all men and women by nature seek the love of God, a love that God freely gives to all men and women. At best, this is a heterodox position, and at worst, a heresy. It's persistent appearing was more than I could take, so I make the very rare move, for me, in not finishing this book, and finding no reason whatsoever to commend it to anyone else. ( )
  BradKautz | Nov 11, 2015 |
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Please distinguish this collection of Thomas Merton's essays, No Man Is an Island (1955), from Johannes Mario Simmel's similarly titled novel, Niemand ist eine Insel (in English, No Man Is an Island; 1948). Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 015665962X, Paperback)

A recapitulation of his earlier work Seeds of Contemplation, this collection of sixteen essays plumbs aspects of human spirituality. Merton addresses those in search of enduring values, fulfillment, and salvation in prose that is, as always, inspiring and compassionate. “A stimulating series of spiritual reflections which will prove helpful for all struggling to...live the richest, fullest and noblest life” (Chicago Tribune).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:12 -0400)

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"Here, in one of the most popular of his more than thirty books, Thomas Merton provides further meditations on the spiritual life in sixteen thoughtful essays, beginning with his classic treatise "Love Can Be Kept Only by Being Given Away." This sequel to Seeds of Contemplation provides fresh insight into Merton's favorite topics of silence and solitude, while also underscoring the importance of community and the deep connectedness to others that is the inevitable basis of the spiritual life - whether one lives in solitude or in the midst of a crowd."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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