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)
But he had not forgotten anything. Today for some reason he remembered everything. Everything he saw became a sign of something else. This fence was a sign of another fence he had climbed through. The hawk was a sign of another hawk and of a time when he believed there were fabulous birds. (...) There is no mystery. The only mystery is that nothing changes. Nothing really happens. Marriages, births, deaths, terrible wars had occurred but had changed nothing. War is not a change but a poor attempt to make a change. War and peace are not events. (p.60)
Walker Percy. The Second Coming. New York 1980

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?
Walker Percy. The Second Coming. New York 1980:144

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!).
Walker Percy. The Second Coming. New York 1980:210

One must arrive at one's own answers.
Walker Percy. The Second Coming. New York 1980:217

"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."
Walker Percy: Lost in the Cosmos. the Last Self-Help Book. New York 1983:122

"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 say "partial recovery of Eden" because even the best scientist and artist must reenter the world he has transcended and there's the rub: the spectacular miseries of reentry - especially when the transcendence is so exalted as to be not merely Adam-like but godlike."
Walker Percy: Lost in the Cosmos. the Last Self-Help Book. New York 1983:123

"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."
Walker Percy: The Thanatos Syndrome. New York 1987:80

"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 failure."
Walker Percy: The Thanatos Syndrome. New York 1987:81

"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."
Walker Percy: The Thanatos Syndrome. New York 1987:92

"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 they?"
Walker Percy: The Thanatos Syndrome. New York 1987:95

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