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#11: Clean Your Mind

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Hi Folks,

These are such confusing times that it seems more necessary than ever to reach out and feel connected. I get so busy that my goal to reach out each week has not been met. But here I will try again.

Thomas Merton wrote more than 50 years ago: “The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our mind.”

The little news I watch makes it seem that the world is falling apart, between the ugliness of racism to fear of this pandemic. What can I do? Is there a “should” there, meaning I “should” be doing something?

As you know, I am a huge fan and supporter of Bryan Stevenson. If you haven’t seen the film about him yet you might want to (should?) put it on your list. It has the same title as his book, Just Mercy.

As a white male I am trying to understand racism — the racism I don’t see because I am in the middle of it. So I am trying to learn and several books have been recommended to me. Last night I started reading White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.

One quote I have been thinking about all day: “I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color.” For example, I am that white progressive. I think I am not racist. But “White progressives do indeed uphold and perpetrate racism, but our defensiveness and certitude make it virtually impossible to explain to us how we do so.” This is just in the introduction to what I believe is going to be a painful read.

As you know, living an examined life is a big part of why I love philosophy and love teaching it too. This summer I am going to try to examine where and how racism still manifests in me. It is a time to read, journal, and for me, to listen to the pain so many of you have experienced. If you would like to call me or Zoom, let me know. My job will be to listen.

I need to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters my mind. Do you want to join me in examining this part of my life? Maybe we can help one another? Let me know.

Martin Luther King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

To Being a Light!


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