January 5, 2006

"You don't have to sort of plan, like 'What do I do in two years?... Where do I want my career to be in 15 years?'"

Carthusian monks:
The monks have avowed almost total silence, interrupted only by what one of them called "the terror of the bell".

"Once you accept the fact that when the bell rings - you just don't think about it - you just get up and go and do whatever that bell requires you to do, then, every moment that you have is a pretty permanently present moment," he says.

"You don't have to sort of plan, like 'What do I do in two years?... Where do I want my career to be in 15 years?' And the absence of language makes something - the moment itself becomes very, very strong."
A film about the monks, which is 3 hours long and nearly completely silent, is a big hit in Germany. Fascinating. The film allows you to feel what it is like to live like that.

10 comments:

Ricardo said...

Actually, it sounds very interesting.

An interesting novel which I read a few years ago was "Lying Awake", by Mark Salzman. Here's the blurb, from the back cover: "In a Carmelite monastery outside present-day Los Angeles, life goes on in a manner virtually unchanged for centuries. Sister John of the Cross has spent years there in the service of God, but lately her life has been electrified by her ever more frequent visions of God's radiance. Sister John's waking dreams have led her toward the deepest religious ecstacy she has ever known, and have allowed her life and writings to become an example of the rewards of devotion for her fellow supplicants. But her visions are accompanied by shattering headaches, and when a doctor reveals they may be dangerous, she faces a devastating choice. For if her spiritual gifts are symptoms of illness rather than grace, will a 'cure' mean the end of her visions and a soul once again at odds with the world? Written with exquisite grace and hailed by critics, this elegant novel plumbs the depths of one woman's soul, and in so doing raises salient questions about the power -- and price -- of true faith."

It's a book that takes you inside the walls of cloistered life, and makes you think about who and what "God" really is.

Jacques Cuze said...

"Once you accept the fact that when the bell rings - you just don't think about it - you just get up and go and do whatever that bell requires you to do, then, every moment that you have is a pretty permanently present moment," he says.

What's great is that your GOP Talking Points allow you to do the same thing!

HaloJonesFan said...

"The film allows you to feel what it is like to live like that."

Christ, I'd think it would feel like being an ant!

YOU ARE NOTHING. YOU HAVE NO MEANS OF EXPRESSING YOURSELF OR COMMUNICATING WITH OTHER BEINGS. LIE STILL AND BE QUIET, AND AWAIT THE SUMMONS.

flounder said...

For some people it's a bell. For quxxo, apparently, it's an Althouse post.

"Once you accept the fact that when Prof. Althouse posts - you just don't think about it - you just get up and go and accuse her of being a GOP shill, then, every moment that you have is a pretty permanently present moment," he says.

"You don't have to sort of plan, like 'What do I do in two years?... Where do I want my career to be in 15 years?'"

Ann Althouse said...

Flounder: LOL.

Joan said...

HaloJonesFan, did you read the article that Ann linked?

You must understand that the monks choose this life and continue their practices by choice. To some, the price they pay in being isolated from society must seem much too high, but I can readily understand how the rewards of such a life would more than compensate those who choose to live it.

Few people are called to such a life, and few people are able to adhere to it. It seems like a dream to me, impossible, unsustainable, and yet there it is.

HaloJonesFan said...

Joan: Yes, I did. It still creeps me out. I suppose that the particular quote is chosen to have the "zing" factor, but it still sounds less like religious fervor and more like voluntary operant conditioning.

vbspurs said...

My mother's great-uncle was a Trappist monk in the 1920's (though he was German, the monastery was in Belgium).

It was very hard on the family, but he had a true vocation, so how can one fault him?

Trappists of course, are even stricter than the ones portrayed in the very interesting film Ann linked to (thanks! I think I'll H/T you).

They are known as: "Cistercians of the Stricter Observance".

Can you imagine the rigour of that life, if it's MORE than the regular Cistercians?

And speaking of Belgium, the magnificent story by Kathryn Hulme, "A Nun's Story", reminds me how after I read it, and saw Audrey Hepburn in the role, I too wanted to be a nun.

Happens to every Catholic girl at least once in her life...for about 15 minutes.

Cheers,
Victoria

chuck b. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chuck b. said...

This is what it says on the label of my bottle of Chartreuse:

Chartreuse is made only by Carthusian Monks of La Grande Chartresue near Grenoble, France. Chartreuse today is still made from 130 alpine herbs according to an ancient 1605 formula. The secret method of preparation is shared by three Carthusian brothers and is protected by vows of silence.

[other stuff...]

The only liqueur to have a color named after it, Chartreuse is also famous for a flavor and fragrance...

Here's more.

Maybe the movie's about different Carthusian monks.