It’s probably about 30 years or so since I last read the 5 volumes of The Children of Violence in sequence and I’ve just finished rereading them this week. It confirms to me what a brilliant writer Doris Lessing is. The final volume The Four Gated City is inspirational but reading them I also felt a poignancy and at another level a fear for how asleep we seem in contemporary society in terms of politics. Doris Lessing was prophetic about the environmental damage that we now know about – the poisoning of natural resources and the associated billions and billions being spent by the military-industrial complex. The end of volume five takes us to the aftermath of what is called ‘The Catastrophe’ and life after a radiation leak that has almost destroyed Britain. Everything is contaminated and only small groups encamped on the far west coast of Ireland have had any chance of survival.
I think there is a link with contemplative prayer and concern for the environment. Thomas Merton thought that and demonstrated in his own life how immersion in contemplation led to a feeling of greater connection with others and with the natural world. It awakened a concern for all other living things including the planet. Being awake is being aware and is about being fully alive and that has to include not just an interest in our own spiritual development but an active concern for the natural world.