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.