[percy-l] an interesting thought - an oversimplification

RHONDA MCDONNELL rhonda_mcdonnell at msn.com
Thu Aug 9 01:12:46 EDT 2012

Janet, I just saw your email as I was cleaning out an in-box (and avoiding doing real work).  You might find it interesting to know that Percy called Rand "bad philosophy" though I don't remember whether he did so in one of his letters (published or unpublished), in one of the essays, or where.  In fact, I imagine her major tenets were anathema to him.
Just a thought in passing :)


"You live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing."
                                    Walker Percy

Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2012 02:41:25 -0700
From: janetcantor37 at yahoo.com
To: percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
CC: tolson.jay at gmail.com
Subject: [percy-l] an interesting thought - an oversimplification

As I prepare for my book discussion in my book group of The Thanatos Syndrome an interesting thought has come to me.

Just as Percy began as someone who believed science would eventually find the answers to everything and ended up as a believer, understanding that answers would come from Catholicism, my reading life has had an amusing trajectory.
Today I admire Walker Percy who has two major ideas as the basis for his novels. We can read philosophy and respect science and search for meaning all we want, but for us to live a better life and for society to thrive we each must get out of our self absorption and care about someone else and we must each seek G-d's grace and prepare for our eternal salvation. Those are Percy's main ideas, I think.
As a young woman I admired Ayn Rand. And while I still think she has a lot to say that I agree with, compare
 her major ideas to Percy's. She insisted that to do things for the benefit of others is disgraceful. That the best way for society to thrive is when we act out of pure selfishness because we will then make ourselves creators of things that will benefit society as a by product. She also hated all religion as a sham, a delusion.
So look at that. Two completely different world views and yet each author conquered me in his own way.


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