17 February 2014

So Naive

Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain (San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1998), p. 150:
I don't know how anybody who pretends to know anything about history can be so naive as to suppose that after all these centuries of corrupt and imperfect social systems, there is eventually to evolve something perfect and pure out of them – the good out of the evil, the unchanging and stable and eternal out of the variable and mutable, the just out of the unjust. But perhaps revolution is a contradiction of evolution, and therefore means the replacement of the unjust by the just, of the evil by the good. And yet it is still just as naive to suppose that members of the same human species, without having changed anything but their minds, should suddenly turn around and produce a perfect society, when they have never been able, in the past, to produce anything but imperfection and, at best, the barest shadow of justice.