Lost in the Cosmos

lost in the cosmos
Seems like a good time to consider Lost in the Cosmos (subtitled the “Last Self-Help Book”) by Walker Percy. An ex introduced me to this work, and I’m glad he did, though I was never quite sure why he thought I needed a self-help book. It’s hard to describe (read the Amazon reviews), but this irreverent book basically consists of a series of questions, one of which seems particularly relevant. From page 57 of the 1992 edition:

(9) The Envious Self (in the root sense of envy: invidere, to look at with malice): Why it is that the Self–though it Professes to be Loving, Caring, to Prefer Peace to War, Concord to Discord, Life to Death; to Wish Other Selves Well, not Ill–in fact Secretly Relishes Wars and Rumors of Wars, News of Plane Crashes, Assassinations, Mass Murders, Obituaries, to say nothing of Local News about Acquaintances Dropping Dead in the Street, Gossip about Neighbors Getting in Fights or being Detected in Sexual Scandals, Embezzlements, and other Disgraces

Get this book. The first page includes some alternate subtitles, including:

How you can survive in the Cosmos about which you know more and more while knowing less and less about yourself, this despite 10,000 self-help books, 100,000 psycho-therapists, and 100 million fundamentalist Christians.
Why it is that of all the billions and billions of strange objects in the Cosmos–novas, quasars, pulsars, black holes–you are beyond doubt the strangest
Why it is possible to learn more in ten minutes about the Crab Nebula in Taurus, which is 6,000 light-years away, than you presently know about yourself, even though you’ve been stuck with yourself all your life.

One response to “Lost in the Cosmos”

  1. Judy

    What ever happened to I’m okay, your okay? Just reading this post makes me want to get into therapy.