[percy-l] Re Lit Crit on Percy - Where to Start?

Eckert, Robert G SPC MIL USA FORSCOM robert.g.eckert at us.army.mil
Sun Feb 24 11:45:26 EST 2008

Jim is right, of course.

Scientists like Dr. Ken Alibek, M.D. who developed bioweapons for the Soviet Union are good people. 

I would still argue that the sort of killer who would use an agent like small pox in an attack is not the same type of killer as a soldier who engages insurgents firing on a convoy just hit by an i.e.d.. 

The insurgent or the soldier may be your hero. 

But, who could have as their hero, who could conceive any possible good in the use of a deadly contagious disease to indiscriminately inflict harm?

CPL Robert Eckert

----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Forest 
Date: Sunday, February 24, 2008 5:50
Subject: [percy-l] Re Lit Crit on Percy - Where to Start?
To: Walker Percy List 

> An extract from Robert Eckert's posting:
> >> In one interview, Percy, when asked a question concerning
> something about living at another time, said he would like to sit 
> on a
> park bench in NYC in the year 2050 to see how we were doing.
> To see if we made it.
> >> Will we?
> >> Percy's questions concerning human destiny are still relevant.
> >> Even more so in a post 9/11 age.
> >> Bad people possess the capability to inflict inordinate damage
> upon you and everything you know.
> I have a feeling that, if Walker Percy were still with us and could
> respond, he might point out that it's not only the bad people (Them)
> but the good people (Us) who all too often inflict inordinate damage
> upon a great many people.
> My guess is that his response would be along the same lines as
> something Thomas Merton (a writer Percy greatly admired) wrote
> while the Vietnam War was gaining momentum.
> Having read Hannah Arendt's book about the trial in Jerusalem of
> Adolph Eichmann, the chief bureaucrat of the Holocaust. Merton was
> inspired to write an essay: "A Devout Meditation in Memory of
> Adolf Eichmann."
> Eichmann, Merton noted, had been declared sane by examining
> psychiatrists. This sane man who had been involved in the death of
> millions seemed to Merton an archetype of all those who were
> brilliant perfecters of new technologies of killing. They were simply
> doing their job, following orders, being good citizens, etc.
> Merton wrote:
> "The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense
> of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love
> and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world
> to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it
> begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the
> most dangerous. It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can
> without qualms and without nausea aim the missiles and press the
> buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that 
> they, the
> sane ones, have prepared.... No one suspects the sane, and the sane
> ones will have perfectly good reasons, logical, well-adjusted reasons,
> for firing the shot. They will be obeying sane orders that have come
> sanely down the chain of command." [Thomas Merton, Raids on the
> Unspeakable (New York: New Directions, 1966), 45-53.]
> Of course we regard ourselves as sane, not to mention good and
> decent and even God-fearing. In the Hollywood movie we make of
> ourselves, we're never the bad guys.
> Jim Forest
> * * *
> Jim & Nancy Forest
> Kanisstraat 5
> 1811 GJ Alkmaar
> The Netherlands
> personal web site: www.incommunion.org/forest-flier/
> *recently published:
> "Silent as a Stone," a children's book about a community of 
> rescuers in
> Nazi-occupied Paris:*
> http://incommunion.org/forest-flier/books/silent-as-a-stone-mother-
> maria-of-paris-and-the-trash-can-rescue/
> *another new book:
> "The Road to Emmaus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life":*
> http://incommunion.org/forest-flier/books/the-road-to-emmaus-
> pilgrimage-as-a-way-of-life/
> * * *
> Nancy and I have been keeping a journal that follows our recent kidney
> transplant. A blog has
> been set up for this purpose -- A Tale of Two Kidneys. See:
> http://ataleof2kidneys.blogspot.com/
> * * *

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