The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedFranz Kafka
Title QuotedCastle
Date (Year/Month/Day)1967/06/11
QuotationThe Castle. A fantastically suggestive book for anyone living precisely the kind of "Castl" life I live. An ironic tract in Ecclesiology. My order and my Abbot believe firmly in maintaining a kind of Village-Castle relationship in their monks. Thus creating and maintaining something like the intensely neurotic anguish and alienation which Kafka describes so subtly. Too subtly. But the subtlety is part of it. The needless yet necessary subtlety. All this digging into motives of motives "¦ Also The Castle is not a sick book, it is a healthy book about a sick situation, because it admits the sickness. Too much modern optimism seems to consist merely in looking at a bad situation through the small end of the telescope, and saying it isn't really there. On the other hand it is imperative to overcome Castle sickness - involvement in Byzantine and futile hierarchical relationships - hoping in the inscrutable machine - here where I am. But it is so firmly built in to the system I belong to, and I am so deeply obsessed with it, that I wonder if I really can be free. It would be an awful thing to be caught in this forever, without issue.
JournalLearning to love: exploring solitude and freedom. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 6, 1966-1967.; Edited by Christine M. Bochen. / [San Francisco] : HarperCollins. 1997, p. 248-49
Link to Merton's Copy