WALKER PERCY WEDNESDAY 59

percycovercroppea

Women are mythical creatures. They have no more connection with the ordinary run of things than do centaurs. I see her clearly, gin fizz in one hand, the other held against her sacrum, palm out, pushing herself rhythmically off the wall. Women! Music! Love! Life! Joy! Gin fizzes!

. . .

It is true. Women are so smart. In truth I am suffering from simultaneous depression and exaltation. So I tell her about it: that this very day I perfected my invention and finished my article, which will undoubtedly be recognized as one of the three great scientific breakthroughs of the Christian era, the others being Newton hitting on his principles and Einstein on his field theory, perhaps even the greatest of all because my discovery alone gives promise of bridging the dread chasm between body and mind that has sundered the soul of Western man for five hundred years.

. . .

It is easy to understand how men do their best work in prison or exile, men like Dostoevsky, Cervantes, Bonhoeffer, Sir Thomas More, Genet, and I, Dr. Thomas More. Pascal wrote as if he were in prison for life and so he was free. In prison or exile or a mental hospital one has time to watch and listen. My question was: how is it with you, fellow patient? how is it with you, fellow physician? and I saw how it was. Many men have done that, seen visions, dreamed dreams. But it is of no use in science unless you can measure it. My good luck came when I stumbled onto a way of measuring the length and breadth and motions of the very self. My little machine is the first caliper of the soul.