Walker Percy’s Search

Pieces of Walker Percy whom I love for his gut honesty and perception of Christ. He judges the superficial unreality of the culture, religious as well as secular, from the unspoken realism of a near miss homicide at the hands of his father and suicide from the boredom and meaningless of quotidian existence. The experience of  authentic reality is always dangling before him as he views the vacuousness of, say, southern niceness as in:

‘…more than anything I wanted to pass onto you the one heritage of the men of our family, a certain  quality of spirit, a gaiety, a sense of duty, and a nobility worn lightly, a sweetness, a gentleness with women – the only good things the South ever had. And the only things that really matter in this life, … But how did it happen that none of this ever meant anything to you? Clearly it did not. Would you please tell me?’ (196)

 

“Binx Bolling responds sincerely to her, saying:

‘That would be difficult for me to say. You say none of what you said ever meant anything to me. That is not true. On the contrary, I have never forgotten anything you ever said. In fact I have pondered over it all my life. My objections … cannot be expressed in the usual way. To tell the truth, I cannot express them at all… (196).

“Binx cannot express them at all because Aunt Emily could not understand that if these are the ‘only things that really matter in life,’ they are not sufficient to respond to one’s humanity. He does not object to these things as wrong; it is simply that they are not capable of really helping one to live a human existence in our time.”

 For those of you who smell the answer to Aunt Emily but don’t dare articulate it for fear of a thousand inarticulables, let me:  Since Christ is the prototype of the human person, the only way “to live a human existence in our time” is to make the gift of oneself to death.  Anything less is “insufficient.”

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