The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedMaurice Merleau-Ponty
Title QuotedSignes
Date (Year/Month/Day)1964/01/17
Imprint[Paris] : Gallimard. [1960]
QuotationFor Merleau-Ponty our body is not an apparatus which, directed by the Spirit, makes use of pre-existing signs to express a meaning which is "there." It is on the contrary a living instrument of its own life, making sense, by all its acts, of the world in which it is. The whole body is art and full of art. Corporeity is style. A deeply (religious) spiritual concept!! Corporiety-a sense and focus of intelligent convergences. "Le propre du geste humain"¦d'inau-gurer un sens." ["It is proper for human signs to make sense."] (Signes, p. 85) All gestures part of a universal syntax-the proportion of monograms and inscapes. History as "horizontal transcendenc" becomes a sacred cow (Signes, 88). That is to say an external power bearing down on us inexorably and demanding the immolation of the present, the recognition of our nothingness in the presence of what "Man" will "one day be." (For as yet he is not.) (Ibid.) He sees more rightly than most Christians that in fact Christianity abolished subordination and revealed a new mystery in relation of man to God that is not vertical only or horizontal only, for "le Christ atteste que Dieu ne serait pas pleinement Dieu sans epouser la condition d'homm" ["Christ gives witness that God would not be completely God without embracing the human condition"] in whom we find God as our other self "qui habite et au-thentifie notre obscurit" ["who lives and verifies our obscurity"]. (Ibid.) The whole mystery of the Ascension is here!
JournalDancing in the Water of Life: Seeking Peace in the Hermitage. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 5, 1963-1965.; Edited by Robert E. Daggy. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1997, p. 62-63
Link to Merton's Copy