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Walker Percy Wednesday 145

WHY DO SCIENTISTS DISLIKE what is apparently the case, that Homo sapiens appeared very recently and very suddenly, in a few hundred thousand years more or less of the Late Pleistocene, perhaps even less—in a word, in less time, cosmologically speaking, than it takes to tell the Biblical story of creation; that the peculiar characteristics…

Walker Percy Wednesday 144 (Or Why Writers Drink)

Why Writers Drink He is marooned in his cortex. Therefore it is his cortex he must assault. Worse, actually. He, his self, is marooned in his left cortex, locus of consciousness according to Eccles. Yet his work, if he is any good, comes from listening to his right brain, locus of the unconscious knowledge of…

Walker Percy Wednesday 143

But what is not generally recognized is that the successful launch of self into the orbit of transcendence is necessarily attended by problems of reentry. What goes up must come down. The best film of the year ends at nine o’clock. What to do at ten? What did Faulkner do after writing the last sentence of…

Walker Percy Wednesday 142

Enrichment in such an age appears either as enrichment within immanence, i.e., the discriminating consumption of the goods and services of society, such as courses in personality enrichment, creative play, and self-growth through group interaction, etc.—or through the prime joys of the age, self-transcendence through science and art. The pleasure of such transcendence derives not…

Walker Percy Wednesday 141

The naming of the predicament of the self by art is its reversal. Hence the salvific effect of art. Through art, the predicament of self becomes not only speakable but laughable. Helen Keller and any two-year-old and Kafka’s friends laughed when the unnameable was named. Kafka and his friends laughed when he read his stories…

Walker Percy Wednesday 140

Yet they, the lay scientists, those who perceive themselves in the community of scientists and at some remove from the ordinary world, may be better off than those who live immanent lives, beneficiaries of science and technology, but with only a glimmering of the scientists, the glimmering that there are scientists and that “they” know…

Walker Percy Wednesday 139

Self as Transcendent. In a post-religious age, the only transcendence open to the self is self-transcendence, that is, the transcending of the world by the self. The available modes of transcendence in such an age are science and art. 00000 Reentry problems become noticeable in less inspired scientists. The divorced wife of an astronomer at the…