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Walker Percy Wednesday 136

The signal-using organism has an environment. The sign-user has an environment, but it also has a world. The environment of an organism is those elements of the Cosmos which affect the organism significantly (Saturn does not) and to which the organism either is genetically coded to respond or has learned to respond. There are many…

Walker Percy Wednesday 135

But what has been called into question in these and like experiments is the use of words such as language, symbols, sentences to describe this kind of communication. Investigators such as Terrace and Sebeok have shown that such communication does not bear the test of language in the human sense, e.g., having a rule-governed syntax.…

Walker Percy Wednesday 134

The so-called détentes and reconciliations between “Science” and “Religion” are even more boring. What is more boring than hearing Heisenberg’s uncertainty relations enlisted in support of the freedom of the will? The traditional scientific model of man is clearly inadequate, for a man can go to heroic lengths to identify and satisfy his needs and…

Walker Percy Wednesday 133

Question (I): Are people depressed despite unprecedented opportunities for education, vocations, self-growth, cultural enrichment, travel, and recreation (a) Because modern life is more difficult, complex, and stressful than it has ever been before? (b) Because, for men, competition in the marketplace is fiercer than ever? (c) Because, for women, life as a housewife is lonelier than…

The greatest sitcom ever made and Walker Percy

I would urge Walker Percy aficionados (and indeed Confederacy of Dunces fans) to view this series (only three seasons) so there’s no “jumping the shark” moment. (Do not bother with the remake). The protagonist’s life is the most Percyean character I’ve come across outside of Percy’s own novels. Even though Simon Heffer doesn’t reference Percy,…

Walker Percy Wednesday 132

The word boredom did not enter the language until the eighteenth century. No one knows its etymology. One guess is that bore may derive from the French verb bourrer, to stuff. Question: Why was there no such word before the eighteenth century? (a) Was it because people were not bored before the eighteenth century? (But wasn’t…

Walker Percy Wednesday 131

Question: During the week following Pearl Harbor, the incidence of suicide declined dramatically across the nation. Was this decline a consequence of (1) A rise in patriotic fervor and a sense of purpose? (2) A new sense of interest (e.g., something, even war, is better than nothing. Peace in the 1930s was like nothing)? 00000…