We live in a time of radical change. Even by the standards of modernity—itself a time of extensive upheaval and overturning—we are quickly losing our grip on things. The postmodernism of our own day is the exponential intensification of this same process of cultural, communal, and personal dissolution. How are we to respond? It often seems far from simple and we are blocked at every turn. Human will-to-power has indeed created marvels, but also the catastrophe we fear is unfolding before us. We have come to the end of our tether. Something has to give.
There is an old way that we can make new again. The path of contemplation. I call it the Arsenios Option: Fleeing distraction, being silent in silence, and dwelling in stillness. A way of letting go of the failed categories of thought and action which have created the very mess we are in and have us running in circles. The path of contemplation has been tested for thousands of years, all over the planet and in many different traditions and contexts. It is our best, and maybe only alternative.
I am currently living as a semi-hermit at a remote Orthodox Benedictine Monastery in the Rocky Mountains. Joy and Beauty are still possible.
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