TECHNOLOGICAL CULTURE AND CONTEMPLATIVE ECOLOGY IN THOMAS MERTON'S CONJECTURES OF A GUILTY BYSTANDER

in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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Abstract

Having introduced the writing of Thomas Merton, this paper pulls together strains of thought scattered throughout Thomas Merton's Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1965) that shed light on Merton's increasing concern with the destructive effects of modern technology on humans and the earth. The paper explores Merton's understanding of relationships between a myth of progress, technological advance, the idea of 'worldliness' and the 'technological mind'. It moves on to examine the importance of experiences of nature in inspiring Merton's writing, and in underpinning his meditations on alternatives to current understandings of technological progress, before concluding by considering Merton's ideas about hope for humanity.

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