[percy-l] Re: animals, order, symbol, self-consciousness, and The Fall of Man

Karey L. Perkins karey at charter.net
Fri Dec 13 17:58:36 EST 2002

Hi Jim...

This has been a wonderful discussion!!  In my quick and probably inaccurate
count, 28 e-mails were generated in two days and all on the very topic of my
dissertation, so thanks to everyone!!  However, I have only had time to sift
through some of them (too much to handle on such short notice) so far, and
contrary to Ken Ketner's exhortation that we be objective as possible in our
investigations, with our hypotheses always open to modification, I have
sought only those that support my/Percy's argument!  : )

Really, I plan to sort through all of these later and examine them in more
depth (and then subject my hypotheses to modification).  I do have a
question for Steve though, who said that he was teaching a course on this
next semester -- What is the name and the nature of the course?  And, do you
teach at a parochial institution or how much leeway is allowed for
discussing religious beliefs?

To address your thought below, Jim,  I do think the universe is "God's
thought" if you will, in that it is creation and lives that creation and
lives the presence of God by being itself -- for example, trees have far
more "consciousness" than Westerners believe, and such people as Native
American understood this.  If anything, humans are the ones that fail at
living "God's thought."  However, humans have the ability for wonder,
self-awareness, and symbolization (a word?) that rocks don't...this is the
FALL of man (a fall "up" according to some theologians) that separates him
from the rest of the world.  Not only in terms of man's difference from the
rest of the world, but his ability to be comfortable and at peace with that
world -- that's something we have to "re-find" and the animals don't.  Do we
re-find it through language?  The "joy" of naming?


----- Original Message -----
From: James Piat
To: percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 5:42 PM
Subject: Re: [percy-l] Re: animals, order, symbol, self-consciousness, and
The Fall of Man

Dear Karey,

I half agree with you.  I like your positive account of what language is
and I agree that your friend Ken has not adequately addressed this issue  --
but I think you are mistaken (along with Percy) in the view that non human
animals (and indeed even so called inanimate rocks) don't participate in the
world of symbolic thought  -- God's thought.  Course if you had quoted me
even once I'd have forgone this quibble, but under the circumstances  --just
kidding of course.

Jim Piat

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karey L. Perkins" <karey at charter.net>

> To Ken and interested listeners --
> First of all, in both the e-mail below and previously, you (Ken D.)are
> disagreeing with Percy on the wrong grounds --

> the animals come up in his argument but they
> really aren't what the argument is all about

-- it is about understanding
> the nature of language, and hence, the nature of man.


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