Monday, September 12, 2011

More Than an Organism

Why does man feel so sad in the twentieth century? ... Why do people often feel bad in good environments and good in bad environments? ... Why do more people commit suicide in San Francisco, the most beautiful city in America, than in any other city? ... Why is the good life which men have achieved in the twentieth century so bad that only news of world catastrophes, assassinations, plane crashes, mass murders, can divert one from the sadness of ordinary mornings? ...
Man knows he is something more than an organism in an environment, because for one thing he acts like anything but an organism in an environment. Yet he no longer has the means of understanding the traditional Judeo-Christian teaching that the 'something more' is a soul somehow locked in the organism like a ghost in a machine. What is he then? He has not the faintest idea. Entered as he is into a new age, he is like a child who sees everything in his new world, names everything, knows everything except himself.

-Walker Percy, The Message in The Bottle, Page 9

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