Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for April 27th, 2013

Thomas Merton on a poet’s logic

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Thomas Merton

There is a logic of language and a logic of mathematics. The former is supple and lifelike, it follows our experience. The latter is abstract and rigid, more ideal. The latter is perfectly necessary, perfectly reliable: the former is only sometimes reliable and hardly ever systematic. But the logic of mathematics achieves necessity at the expense of living truth, it is less real than the other, although more certain. It achieves certainty by a flight from the concrete into abstraction. Doubtless, to an idealist, this would seem to be a more perfect reality. I am not an idealist. The logic of the poet—that is, the logic of language or the experience itself—develops the way a living organism grows: it spreads out towards what it loves, and is heliotropic, like a plant.

Thomas Merton

Written by nevalalee

April 27, 2013 at 9:50 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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