Dorothy Day said, “The only way to live in any true security is to live so close to the bottom that when you fall you do not have far to drop, you do not have much to lose.” [1] From that place, we can be used as instruments of transformation and liberation for the rest of the world.

Bias from the Bottom

Dorothy Day

American Journalist
Dorothy Day, Obl.S.B., was an American journalist, social activist, and Catholic convert. Dorothy Day became famous after her conversion. She initially lived a bohemian lifestyle before becoming Catholic. This conversion is described in her autobiography, The Long Loneliness.



This wisdom from the lady journalist simplifies the greatest challenges of our day.  For most of the world, security interprets itself as a mad scramble to the top by whatever means necessary, no matter whose toes we must tread upon, no matter how many children starve as a result of our ambitions.  We are conditioned from childhood upward, viz., the competitiveness of little league baseball and football.  We are fed the ‘American dream’ and are left to feel inconsequential when that dream eludes us.  Even our religious institutions substitute for the teachings of Jesus Christ the command to ‘pray hard, live right, and get ahead’.

Christianity lost its balance and direction centuries ago when theology and dogma were elevated over honesty and humility, when preachers no longer exhorted from the pulpits the love story of Jesus, and when differing faiths were demonized and persecuted.

Looking to the bottom makes sense of this world’s dilemmas.  It resonates within my own heart.  Finally realizing and accepting that the top offers no security, that there is no security to be found in materialism and worldliness, a man overcomes the fear of having ‘nothing’.  And then the heart can receive the goodness, the compassion, the brotherhood which our God intended for us.

Janis Joplin had a good heart but was miserably misunderstood.  From “ME AND BOBBY MCGEE” she tells us:

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.”

And, baby, you ain’t nothing if you ain’t free.

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