The Non-Violent Demonstrator

Beverly Lanzetta Meditations, Study

The following is an excerpt from a letter written to the editor of Liberation by Thomas Merton on December 30, 1961. His words are as true now as they were in 1961.

“…[W]e are reminded of the necessity for complete ‘purity’ in our non-violent action: complete detachment from results. We must act only because the act itself is true, and expresses the truth. We must not even demand that the truth be immediately recognized. Still less must we expect to be congratulated. On the contrary, it may well mean a cracked skull. This purity of action is the fundamental guarantee of its truth. It is the only thing that gives the non-violent demonstrator power against the mass media with all their money and all their influence.

As for the results: the truth needs only to be manifested. It can take care of itself.”

Thomas Merton Witness To Freedom: Letters In Times of Crisis, selected and edited by William H. Shannon. (pp. 95-96)