Monday, July 25, 2005

Walker Percy




The following are some Walker Percy links and quotes that may be useful for indirect literary apologetics. I will be updating this log as I come across more information and insight.

Links:

Walker Percy Resources on the Web
The Walker Percy Project
Everything you ever wanted to know about Walker Percy...
Walker Percy: Seer of the "Self"


Quotes:

(Mystery)

My aunt is convinced I have a ``flair for research.'' This is not true. If I had a flair for research, I would be doing research. Actually, I'm not very smart. My grades were average. My mother and my aunt think I am smart because I am quiet and absent-minded-- and because my father and grandfather were smart. They think I was meant to do research because I am not fit to do anything else-- I am a genius whom ordinary professions can't satisfy. I tried research one summer. I got interested in the role of the acid-base balance in the formation of renal calculi; really, it's quite and intersting problem. I had a hunch you might get pigs to form oxalate stones by manipulating the pH of the blood, and maybe even dissolve them. A friend of mine, a boy from Pittsburg named Harry Stern, and I read up the literature and presented the problem to [Dr.] Minor. He was enthusiastic, gave us everything we wanted and turned us loose for the summer. But then a peculiar thing happened. I became extraordinarily affected by the summer afternoons in the laboratory. The August sunlight came streaming across the room. The old building ticked and creaked in the heat. Outside we could hear the cries of summer students playing touch football. In the course of an afternoon the yellow sunlight moved across old group pictures of the biology faculty. I became bewitched by the presence of the building; for minutes at a stretch I sat on the floor and watched motes rise and fall in the sunlight. I called Harry's attention to the presence but he shrugged and went on with his work. He was absolutely unaffected by the singularities of time and place. His abode was anywhere. It was all the same to him whether he catheterized a pig at four o'clock in the afternoon in New Orleans or at midnight in Transylvania. He was actually like one of those scientists in the movies who don't care about anything but the problem in their heads-- now here is a fellow who does have a ``flair for research'' and will be heard from. Yet I do not envy him. I would not change places with him if he discovered the cause and cure of cancer. For he is no more aware of the mystery which surrounds him than a fish is aware of the water it swims in. He could do research for a thousand years and never have an inkling of it. By the middle of August I could not see what difference it made whether the pigs got kidney stones or not (they didn't incidentally), compared to the mystery of those summer afternoons. I asked Harry if he would excuse me. He was glad enough to, since I was not much use to him sitting on the floor. I moved down to the Quarter where I spent the rest of the vacation in quest of the spirit of summer and in the company of an attractive and confused girl from Bennington who fancied herself a poet. (The Moviegoer pp. 42-42)
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(Vertical Search)

Until recent years, I read only ``fundamental'' books, that is, key books on key subjects, such as War and Peace, the novel of novels; A Study of History, the solution of the problem of time; Schroedinger's What is Life?, Einstein's The Universe as I see It, and such. During those years I stood outside the universe and sought to understand it. I lived in my room as an Anyone living Anywhere and read fundamental books and only for diversion took walks around the neighborhood and saw an occasional movie. Certtainly it did not matter to me where I was when I read such a book as The Expanding Universe. The greatest success of this enterprise, which I call my vertical search, came one noght when I sat in a hotel room in Birmingham and read a book called The Chemistry of Life. When I finished it, it seemed to me that the main goals of my search were reached or were in principle reachable, whereupon I went out and saw a movie called It Happened One Night which was itself very good. A memorable night. The only difficulty was that though the universe had been disposed of, I myself was left over. There I lay in my hotel room with my search over yet still obliged to draw one breath and then the next. But now I have undertaken a different kind of search, a horizontal search. As a consequence, what takes place in my room is less important. What is important is what I shall find when I leave my room and wander in the neighborhood. Before, I wandered as a diversion. Now I wander seriously and sit and read as a diversion.
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(Starting point for search)

It no longer avails to start with creatures and prove God.
Yet it is impossible to rule God out.
The only possible starting point: the strange fact of one's own invincible apathy-- that if the proofs were proved and God presented himself, nothing would be changed. Here is the strangest fact of all.


Abraham saw signs of God and believed. Now the only sign is that all the signs in the world make no difference. Is this God's ironic revenge? But I am onto him. (REMEMBER TOMORROW pp. 128-129)
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(On Scientism)
Question: Why does it make scientists uneasy that it appears to be the case that Homo sapiens sapiens, a conscious languaged creature, appeared suddenly and lately-- when scientists profess to be interested in what is the case, that is, the evidence?

A. Because scientists are understandably repelled by the theory of the special creation of man by God, in Biblical time, say 6004 B.C. at 11 a.m. on a Wednesday morning.

B. Because scientists find it natural to deal with matter in interaction and with energy exchanges and don't know what to make of such things as consciousness, self, symbols and even sometimes deny that there are such things, even though they, the scientists, act for all the world as if they were conscious selves and spend their lives transacting with symbols.

C. Because scientists are uneasy with discontinuities, even when there is evidence of such discontinuity in the appearance of man in all his contrarieties. Revealed religion has its dogmas, e.g., thou shalt not kill. But so does science: thou shalt not tolerate discontinuities. The question is which is the more entitled.

D. Because scientists in the practice of the scientific method, a non-radical [radical = `to the root'] knowledge of matter in interaction, often are not content with the non-radicalness of the scientific method and hence find themselves located in a posture of covert transcendence of their data, which is by the same motion assigned to the sphere of immanence. Hence, scientists operate in the very sphere of transcendence with is not provided for in science. Given such a posture, it is not merely an offense if a discontinuity turns up in the sphere of immanence, the data, but especially if the discontinuity seems to allow for the intervention of God. A god is already present. A scientist is god to his data. And if there is anything more offensive to him that the suggestion of the existence of God, it is the existence of two gods. (Lost in the Cosmos pp. 163-164)

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/percy.html

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cure,

Where were you exposed to Walter Percy's writings? Have your read his Catholic book?

Mom

Cure of Ars said...

Here is a audio lecture by Peter Kreeft.

"Contrasts two classics, Percy Walker's Lost in the Cosmos and C.S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man, on the topics of Natural Law, humor and irony, direct and indirect communication, the nature of self, knowing vs. knowing about, and others"

http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/13_lost-in-the-cosmos.htm

my life goals said...

Thanks for a good read.

I’m leaving a little “teaser” for you here to start you thinking about something you may have disregarded for awhile.

Perhaps it will make a difference in your day, month or year. Who knows, it could change your life!

I hope this is of great benefit to you, and maybe you can pass it on…

How to Begin to Achieve Your Goals

Once you have set your lifetime goals, the best thing that you can do is set a 25 year plan of smaller goals that you should complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan.
From there you can just shorten your overall goal spans for example, you set a 5 year plan, 1 year plan, 6 month plan, and 1 month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals.

Each of these should be based on the previous plan. It is the best way to begin to achieve a lifetime that is filled with and results in a life without any failed wishes. It results in a life without regret.

You see, by starting out slowly, you are giving yourself the chance to realize and work on achieving the goals that you set out to.

Nobody ever succeeds at attaining a goal that was forced through. Those that tried never really got what they were hoping for. In rushing through and trying to achieve your goals quickly you will likely miss a few key aspects that can really change your outcome.

Think of it this way; if you were to run a 10K marathon and decided to take a cab for half of the journey; have you really achieved that goal? Would you be satisfied when you crossed the finish line?

It would be a hollow victory that could only provide a moments happiness.

Finally set a daily to do list of the things that you should do today to work towards your lifetime goals.

At an early stage these goals may be to read books and gather information on the achievement of your goals. This will help you to improve the quality and realism of your goal setting and in effect; make it easier to achieve them.

You also have to review your plans, and make sure that they fit the way in which you want to live your life.

Once you have decided what your first set of plans will be, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your to-do list on a daily basis.

You have to periodically review the longer term plans, and change them to reflect your changing priorities and experiences in your life.

Have a GREAT day, and set a few new goals while you’re at it!

You can find more "tidbits" on goal setting at developing goals

effective goals said...

I like to leave a little “wisdom” to jolt your into thinking about goals you may have set over the past few years, months and days, after a good blog read.

Not earth shattering by any means, and you have read this before, but have you
actually practiced it lately?

You know – gnitteS laoG

Jot down a few new ones today or visit a few old ones that would make you a better person, better business person or a better provider.

I dare you!

Today’s tidbit…

There is a difference in setting your goals and setting them effectively. Anyone can set a goal, but doing it effectively means that it will actually get done.

There are so many things that you can do to better your life, but if you don't know how to go about it you are stuck.

The following guidelines will help you to set effective goals and help you manage your time in an efficient manner that will cause those goals to become reality.

State each goal as a positive statement

Express your goals in a positive way. That is a key component to setting goals that you can attain.

How often have you been excited to accomplish a goal that didn't even sound good when you brought it up? If you are not comfortable or happy with the goals that you have set, the likelihood of you succeeding is pretty low.

If you want to express your goals in a positive way, you simply have to first think of a goal that puts a smile on your face when you imagine it completed. Why would you want to set a goal that made you frown, cringe or cry?

When you are beginning to set your goals it helps when you are talking about them to others in a manner that states your actions as positives because it will have others seeing it as a positive as well.

That will garner you a great deal more support. In the end, don't we all need a little support when we are trying to do something positive in our lives?

Be precise

Set a precise goal that includes starting dates, times and amounts so that you can properly measure your achievement.

If you do this, you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.

Being precise in setting your goals is no more than setting them with exact details. It is easier this way because then you can follow a step-by-step format. That's all there is to it.

Set priorities

When you have several goals, give each a specific priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones and follow each in succession. Setting priorities will force you into the step-by-step format above.

By doing the most important first and moving to the least important in succession, you are enabling each task to be easier than the last. It causes the accomplishment of each task to get easier and easier which will encourage you to complete your goal.

There’s a few more “tidbits” for you at my life goals

Enjoy your day – And have a GREAT one!