Saturday, July 22, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Walker Percy (1916 – 1990)


American Southern author whose interests included philosophy and semiotics.
Walker Percy
Hatred strikes me as one of the few signs of life remaining in the world. This is another thing about the world which is upsidedown: all the friendly and likable people seem dead to me; only the haters seem alive. (2.9)
Percy quotes
Oh the crap that lies lurking in the English soul. Somewhere it, the English soul, received an injection of romanticism which nearly killed it.
Percy
To tell the absolute truth, I’ve always been slightly embarrassed by Walter’s company. Whenever I’m with him, I feel the stretch of the old tightrope, the necessity of living up to the friendship of friendships, of cultivating an intimacy beyond words. The fact is that we have little to say to each other. There is only this thick sympathetic silence between us. We are comrades, true, but somewhat embarrassed comrades. It is probably my fault. For years now I have had no friends. I spend my entire time working, making money, going to movies and seeking the company of women.




Percy Walker quotes
The enduring is something which must be accounted for. One cannot simply shrug it off.
Percy Walker
For some time now the impression has been growing upon me that everyone is dead. It happens when I speak to people. In the middle of a sentence it will come over me: yes, beyond a doubt this is death. There is little to do but groan and make an excuse and slip away as quickly as one can.
Walker Percy quotes
Not a single thing do I remember from the first trip but this: the sense of the place, the savor of the genie-soul of the place which every place has or else is not a place...there it is as big as life, the genie-soul of the place which, wherever you go, you must meet and master first thing or be met and mastered. (4.3)
Walker Percy
A repetition is the re-enactment of past experience toward the end of isolating the time segment which has lapsed in order that it, the lapsed time, can be savored of itself and without the usual adulteration of events that clog time like peanuts in brittle.
Percy Walker quotes
He was a young man of pleasant appearance. Of medium height and exceedingly pale, he was nevertheless strongly built and quick and easy in his ways. Save for his deafness in one ear, his physical health was perfect. Handsome as he was, he was given to long silences. So girls didn't know what to make of him. But men liked him. After a while they saw that he was easy and meant no harm. He was the sort whom classmates remember fondly; they liked to grab him around the neck with an elbow and cuff him around. Good-looking and amiable as he was, however, he did not strike one as remarkable. People usually told him the same joke two or three times.
Percy
It was no more nor less than true. You do things by doing things, not by not doing them. No more crazy upsidedownness, he resolved. Good was better than bad. Good environments are better than bad environments.
Percy Walker
Why is it that one can look at a lion or a planet or an owl or at someone’s finger as long as one pleases, but looking into the eyes of another person is, if prolonged past a second, a perilous affair?
Walker Percy
Once again he began to feel bad in the best of environments. And he noticed that other people did too. So bad did they feel, in fact, that it took the worst of news to cheer them up. On the finest mornings he noticed that people in the subway looked awful until they opened their newspapers and read of some airliner crashing and killing all hundred and seven passengers. Where there had been misery in their happiness, now as they shook their heads dolefully at the tragedy they became happy in their misery.




Walker Percy quotes
You can get all A's and still flunk life.
Walker Percy
Why it is that of all the billions and billions of strange objects in the Cosmos — novas, quasars, pulsars, black holes — you are beyond doubt the strangest?
Percy quotes
She refers to a phenomenon of moviegoing which I have called certification. Nowadays when a person lives somewhere, in a neighborhood, the place is not certified for him. More than likely he will live there sadly and the emptiness which is inside him will expand until it evacuates the entire neighborhood. But if he sees a movie which shows his very neighborhood, it becomes possible for him to live, for a time at least, as a person who is Somewhere and not Anywhere. (1.7)
Percy Walker
He could tell that the other expected him to be surprised, but it was not in him to be surprised because it was no more surprising to him when things did not fall out as they were supposed to than when they did.
Percy Walker quotes
Christians talk about the horror of sin, but they have overlooked something. They keep talking as if everyone were a great sinner, when the truth is that nowadays one is hardly up to it. There is very little sin in the depths of the malaise. The highest moment of a malaisian's life can be the moment when he manages to sin like a proper human (Look at us, Binx — my vagabond friends as good as cried out to me — we're sinning! We're succeeding! We're human after all!)
Walker Percy
A good rotation. A rotation I define as the experiencing of the new beyond the expectation of the experiencing of the new.
Walker Percy quotes
What a man can be the next minute bears no relation to what he is or what he was the minute before.
Walker Percy
My aunt is convinced I have a "flair for research." This is not true. If I had a flair for research, I would be doing research. Actually I'm not very smart. My grades were average. My mother and my aunt think I am smart because I am quiet and absent-minded–and because my father and grandfather were smart. They think I was meant to do research because I am not fit to do anything else–I am a genius whom ordinary professions can't satisfy.
Percy Walker
Where does one start with a theory of man if the theory of man as an organism in an environment doesn't work and all the attributes of man which were accepted in the old modern age are now called into question: his soul, mind, freedom, will, Godlikeness?
There is only one place to start: the place where man's singularity is there for all to see and cannot be called into question, even in a new age in which everything else is in dispute.
That singularity is language...


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