[percy-l] Langer

David Alan Beck dabeck at iupui.edu
Mon Sep 8 13:14:00 EDT 2003

A few weeks ago someone (Karey?) brought up the issue of Langer "dropping
the ball." Some probably already know this, but Elie brings up the topic
(briefly). He writes:

"Her [Langer] synthesis of science and humanism was what he [Percy] had
sought in his reading. But her invocation of "need" made him suspicious,
for the scientists who had trained him held that there are finally only
two human needs: survival and propagation of the species. Why does
humanity "need" symbols? What are they "key" to? 'She picked up the key
and dropped it,' he later explained. 'She didn't do anything with it, she
didn't use the key to unlock anything." (227-8)

Elie writes some more about Langer but not much. I don't know if this
helps, but I just read this section this weekend and thought of the
(BTW, I'm another listmember who gives this book a thumbs up. It is
excellent (although it seems Percy doesn't get as much attention as the
other three--Merton, O'Connor and Day).)  

David Beck                                         

More information about the Percy-L mailing list