From Walker Percy's 1957 article, "The Coming Crisis in Psychiatry":
"We all know perfectly well that the man who lives out his life as a consumer, a sexual partner, an 'other-directed' executive; who avoids boredom and anxiety by consuming tons of newsprint, miles of movie film, years of TV time; that such a man has somehow betrayed his destiny as a human being."
The crisis for psychiatry, Percy went on to say, was that in treating human yearning for significance as a symptom of some underlying mental illness, it actually contributed to man's separation from creation, by alienating him from his purpose.
Not that the long line of therapists and psychologists in my own past haven't been helpful. Love you, guys. But I wonder if Percy wasn't on to something that modern America doesn't want to hear, which is that the yearning can't be entertained or purchased or medicated away.
Since we have bidders on our house, we've gotten back into the habit of looking for houses in the country. The boys' favorite thus far has been a log cabin-style house in lovely Mulvane, which is the sight of the finest Italian restaurant in all of Kansas, and an elderberry winery to boot. The house looks like a giant got really creative with his Lincoln Log set. All it lacks is the little red plastic chimney. The inside corners even had criss-crossed log ends.
As we were preparing to leave, I looked at the corner nearest the door and whispered to the Wife, "How long do you think, if we bought this house, it would take Isaac to figure out that he could climb those corners all the way to the ceiling?"
Isaac crouched by the door as I whispered this, squeezing his shoes back onto his fat little feet. As he stood, he reached out a hand to balance himself. His hand settled on one of those log ends. He looked at it, then looked up to the ceiling. His epiphany blossomed into a beatific smile.
He was a quarter of the way to the ceiling by the time I scooped him into my arms. A fish swims, a bird flies, and Isaac climbs.
I really do love the little stinker, and so I'm hoping he survives to adulthood. Some days I'm not so confident.
Yesterday I received G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, which has languished on my Amazon wishlist for months and months. It came courtesy of F. Michael Forrester, who hails from London, and who is undoubtedly a gentleman and scholar. Thank you, Mr. Forrester.
I came to work late this morning, as part of my protest against daylight savings time, which I refuse to reify with capital letters. I have nothing against daylight that knows its place, nor against saving time. What I protest is that a country as technologically advanced as our own can't figure out how to save time by setting our clocks back coming and going, instead of this barbarous clocks forward ritual every spring.
And in other news, if you've marveled lately at your extra energy, seeming immunity to infections, and imperviousness to pain, perhaps you should read this article about drugs and caffeine in the water supply. Yet another reason to move to the country. Yes, there may be ticks and poison ivy, but at least my kids won't get hopped up on tap water.