Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Quotable | The Search

open quoteThe search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.
-- Walker Percy (1916 - 1990), American author and "philosophical novelist" It seems to me that Percy implies a search lends some form of exhilaration to life. That this search is something of a healing balm against life-deadening "everydayness." But I just cannot shake the feeling that the search itself begets despair. Perhaps this only happens when the search is simpy an intellectual exercise that never feeds the soul. If knowledge is the only goal, and there is no sense of joining in the mystery. Does your search feed your soul?

6 comments:

Buck said...

Hell man. Everybody gets tired of looking sometimes. My search feeds my soul but only when I find. And even then it is only fed for one meal. The search continues. Sometimes I am hungry and sometimes I am gorged out. When I am lucky enough to find I try to store some up for the lean times.

It is hard to feed the soul. The soul has an insatiable appetite.

smijer said...

It helps to know what you're searching for.

I think that among some "searchers", that part of life is too narrow a focus... as evidenced by the fact that "searching" is seen as an end in itself. If you haven't lost your car keys, do you wander around the house "looking" anyway? No, I don't mean because you're senile like me... I mean just to feed your soul?

But one way or another, the soul does need fed... if it's just too much of a drag to do it, then a bottle of something to tide it over until you feel like cooking.

brainwise said...

Interesting comments.

I read this yesterday:

*begin quoted material*

[In a 1989 interview, Scott] Walter, in the course of his interview, asks [Walker] Percy his reaction to Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, remarking Bloom's original title, Soul Without Longing, and recalling Father James Schall's quip that the title should be Longing Without Soul. (Of Bloom, Percy remarks, "I suspect he is a nihilist.") If we take Father Schall's pointed jest and explore it in relation to Walker Percy's own long journey, we see the heart of Percy's concern...

What we might say is that the modern condition of the person is of a soul longing for its recovery as soul [emphasis added], longing for an escape from the reductionism of person to mere self, to consciousness disoriented from reality.

*end quoted material*


That's strong stuff.

Buck said...

Let's put it this way....

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

brainwise said...

Of course you haven't found what you're looking for, Buck. If you had found it ... would you still be here?

Wait-a-minute ... perhaps you would stick around, if only to nudge others who were looking for something similar.

Buck said...

One of the first quotations I ever memorized went something like this

"not the quarry but the chase, not the trophy but the race."

I know it makes no sense on a natural level but for some reason those words have followed me around for at least 40 years.

To be honest with you I quit nudging others long ago. I just try to smile and wish them well.