The Whole Self

An excerpt from “New Seeds of Contemplation” by Thomas Merton

“It is equally false to treat the soul as if it were the “whole self” and the body as if it were the “whole self.” Those who make the first mistake fall into the sin of angelism. Those who make the second live below the level assigned by God to human nature. (It would be an easy cliché to say they life like beasts.) There are many respectable and even conventionally moral people for whom there is no other reality in life than their body and its relationship with “things.” They have reduced themselves to a life lived within the limits of their five senses. Their self is consequently an illusion based on sense experience and nothing else.”

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