[percy-l] [External] Re: Slomo Etc
gregory.plemmons at Vanderbilt.Edu
Sat Jul 12 14:22:18 EDT 2014
Slomo is an interesting parallel, yet I'm not sure I put him on the ledge next to Dr. More, at least in the manner in which he's depicted. In a way, Slomo's story is only interesting to us in the upper-middle-class context of what he's seemingly left behind: a successful career and education, his native South, and the decision to pursue what he wants--a decision, it appears, that still required some sort of external catalyst, or event. As I take it from the video, he developed a neuropsychiatric condition which leaves him with the ability to recognize other people's faces, or prosopagnosia, which was brilliantly described by Oliver Sacks in The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat (I can only dream of the conversations those two might have had). It's Slomo's choice, that seems most interesting. One wonders if there hadn't been an event (or a disease) how much longer Slomo would have continued to "shovel shit" and "remain an asshole." He's lauded as a celebrity because somehow an external event outside his control has somehow managed to unsheath and demystify his gleaming purpose, and he transcends what the rest of us long for--to do what we want. But what we want, as pointed out earlier, distracts us from what we are.
For me, at least, one of Percy's essential struggles, and questions, has been one of mindfulness: how do we access the Gift? There's a quote attributed to Chekhov, "Any idiot can face a crisis, it's the day-to-day living that wears you out"--that's always summed up for me what Percy is trying to access.
Binx, and More are propelled to go on their Search after some tragic event, and it's a natural human reaction--purpose gives meaning to tragedy. Slomo has found his meaning in rollerblading, on the sun-drenched Zen coast of California. More, at least from what he tells us so far, does want to help humanity with his lapsometer. It may be far-fetched, or theoretical, the work of a madman, but it seems there's intention. As I watched the Slomo video, I could steadily hear my internal Nurse Ellen, prodding him to snap out of it and get back to work. Slomo loses some of his self-awareness the moment he becomes part of the larger narrative constructed by the film-maker (what would Percy think about selfies?)--to quote Percy, the thing is no longer the thing. I guess More loses some of the Self, as well, simply by telling us his story, in the constructed narrative of LiTR. I guess that's why I still enjoying reading much more than film.
Thanks to everyone for all the interesting discussion and ideas so far! I've really been enjoying this campsite...
From: Percy-L [percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] on behalf of Wade Riddick [wriddick at usa.net]
Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2014 12:11 AM
To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
Subject: [External] Re: [percy-l] Slomo Etc
"Do what you want" => fulfill your desire (the Mallification of the
American South; the reduction of worshippers to consumers - or, perhaps,
their transformation into worshippers of Mammon)
>"And he came to himself". THUS: "Do what you are".
=> What you are is not what you want. What you want distracts you from
what you are.
This is Kierkegaard's rotation and repetition at work.
We are all prodigal, in this sense, because we don't know what loss is. We
don't even understand what the gift is. I'm thinking here of the lessons
of Epictetus on loss and jealousy in the Prodigal Son. Jealousy seems a
rather useless emotion in a world destined for nothing but loss.
Can we not quote the entirety of other comments? It rather rapidly fills
up our inboxes.
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