People notice very little indeed

One of the reasons I love Walker Percy is because he writes into his novels gems like this:

In his strange new mood he made the following observation: people notice very little indeed, ghost-ridden as they are by themselves. You have to be bleeding from the mouth or throwing a fit for them to take notice. Otherwise, anything you do is no more or no less than another part of the world they have to deal with, poor souls.

You worry about what you are supposed to do. The funny thing is, no matter what you do, people believe it is no more or no less than what you are supposed to do. [The Second Coming, pp. 173-174]

Though the novel is nearly 30 years old, the fact that people notice very little is a stark reality today in our celebrity-driven, sensationalist culture. Percy’s grasp of the internal observation is unparalleled. If you’ve never read him, you should.

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