Zitate von Walker Percy
(28.05.1916 Birmingham, Ala. - 10.05.1990 Covington/LA)
Later he remembered everything. His symptom, if it was a symptom, was
the opposite of amnesia, a condition as far as I know unnamed by medical
science. Everything reminded him of something else. (p.10)
Is it possible for people to miss their lives in the same way one
misses a plane? And how is it that death, the nearness of death, can
restore a missed life?
He had learned over the years that if you listen carefully you can
hear the truth from the unlikeliest sources, especially from the
unlikeliest sources, from an enemy, from a stranger, from children,
from nuts, from overheard conversations, from stupid preachers
(certainly not from eloquent prechers!).
One must arrive at one's own answers.
"In a post-religious age, the only recourses of the self are self as
transcendent and self as immanent.
The impoverishment of the immanent self derives from a perceived loss
of sovereignty to "them", the transcending scientists and experts of
society. As a consequence, the self sees its only recourse as an
endless round of work, diversion, and consumption of goods and
services. Failoing this and having some inkling of its plight, it
sees no way out because it has come to see itself as an organism in
an environment and so can't understand why it feels so bad in the
best of all possible environments (...) and so finds itself sexcretly
relishing bad news, assassinations, plane crashes, and the
misfortunes of neighbors, and evenn comes secretly to hope for
catastrophe, earthquake, hurricane, wars, apocalypse - anything to
break out of th iron grip of immanence."
"The pleasure of such transcendence derives not from the recovery of
self but from the loss of self. Scientific and artistic transcendence
is a partial recovery of Eden, the semiotic Eden, when the self
explored the world through signs before falling into
self-consciousness. Von Frisch with his bees, the Lascaux painter
with his bison were as happy as Adam naming his animals.
"I never cease to be amazed at the number of patients who are at a
loss or feel crazy because they don't know what to do from one minute
to the next, don't think they do things right. Even when such
actor-people do wrong, go nuts, they do it in a proper, rounded-off
way, like Jane Fonda having a breakdown on TV. "I can't even have a
successful nervous breakdown!" cried Ella, wringing her hands. She
thought she had to go nuts in a poetic way, like Ophelia singing sad
songs and jumping in the creek with flowers in her hair. How do I
know what to do, Doctor? Why can't you tell me? What I want to tell
them is, this is not the Age of Enlightment but the Age of Not
Knowing What to Do."
"What is failure? Failure is what people do ninety-nine percent of
the time. Even in the movies: ninety-nine outtakes for one print. But
in the movies they don't show the failures. What you see are the
takes that work. So it looks as if every action, even going crazy, is
carried off in a proper, rounded-off way. It looks as if real failure
is unspeakabel. TV has screwed up millions of people with their
little rounded-off stories. Because that is not the way life is.
Life is fits and starts, mostly fits. Life doesn't have to stop with
"Then there's the loss of something. What? A certain sort of
self-awarness? The old ache of self? Ella doesn't even bother to look
at her own photograph, doesn't care."
"I discovered that it is not sex that terrifies people. It is that
they are stuck with themselves. It is not knowing who they are or
what to do with themselves. They are frightened out of their wits
that they are not doing what, according to experts, books, films,
TV, they are supposed to be doing. THEY, the experts, know, don't
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