Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last Self-Help Administration

From the fine essay on Walker Percy by Michael A. Mikolajeczak, "A home that is hope": Lost cove, Tennessee:
(In his book, Lost in the Cosmos,) (t)he choice that Percy puts before the reader at the end of Space Odyssey II is one of the clearest and most decisive of the book: the utopianism of Aristarchus Jones, which is merely self-help raised to a societal degree, or the Incarnational vision of Abbot Liebowitz. However, it is critical that there be no illusion about the difference between the two. It is not a matter of science versus faith (interestingly, it is Liebowitz who plans to restore science by reviving the University of Notre Dame around a remnant of Jewish scientists). Both options rest on faith: one on the belief that humanity possesses sufficient experience, accurate understanding of human nature, and steadiness of purpose to maintain a vision through several generations; the other on the preposterous notion that God created the world and humanity, that humanity fell off from God, that God sent his Son to reclaim humanity, that the Son, being both God and man, founded a church, appointed as its first head a likeable but pusillanimous person, like himself a Jew, the most fallible of his friends, gave him and his successors the power to loose and to bind, required of his followers that they eat his body and drink his blood in order to have life in them, his body and blood, vowed to protect this institution until the end of time (253).
Now, having read this excerpt from Mikolajeczak, which of the two above - the utopianism of Aristarchus Jones, on the one hand, or the Incarnational vision of Abbot Liebowitz - best approximates the incoming president-elect's project of Change for America? Hmm?

I agree with you. Therefore, the new Label here at Chronicles of Atlantis for all-things-Big-O shall henceforth be: Last Self-Help Administration. Selah.

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