Walker Percy’s Theory of Hurricanes

Walter Isaacson in today’s NYT

But Percy’s theory about the redemptive power of hurricanes goes beyond the fact that dangerous situations allow us to become action heroes or saints. “True, people help each other in catastrophes,” he wrote in “Lancelot.” “But they don’t feel good because they help each other. They help each other because they feel good.” The hurricane blows away our alienation. “I knew a married couple once who were bored with life, disliked each other, hated their own lives, and were generally miserable — except during hurricanes,” Lancelot recounts. “Then they sat in their house at Pass Christian, put a bottle of whiskey between them, felt a surge of happiness, were able to speak frankly and cheerfully to each other, laugh and joke, drink, even make love.”