In ‘Contemplation in a World of Action’, Merton quotes a Sufi scholar to emphasize the importance of crossing over into what he calls “transcultural maturity,” a place where all boundaries fall:
“The person who has attained integration is no longer limited by the culture in which he has grown up. ‘He has embraced all of life… He has experienced qualities of every type of life, ordinary human existence, intellectual life, artistic creation, human love, religious life. He passes beyond all these limited forms, while retaining all that is best and most universal in them, ‘finally giving birth to a fully comprehensive self.’ He accepts not only his own community, his own society, his own friends, his own culture, but all mankind. He does not remain bound to one limited set of values in such a way that he opposes them aggressively or defensively to others… With this view of life he is able to bring perspective, liberty and spontaneity into the lives of others.”
The finally integrated [human being] is a peacemaker, and that is why there is such a desperate need for our leaders to become such men of insight.