By Walker Percy

In Message in the Bottle, Walker Percy deals insights on such different but interconnected matters as symbolic reasoning, the origins of mankind, Helen Keller, Semioticism, and the amazing Delta issue. Confronting tricky philosophical questions with a novelist's eye, Percy rewards us repeatedly together with his willing insights into the best way that language possesses all of us.

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January four, 1902, on the place of abode of Manuel Gómez in Matanzas, Cuba, a leaf fell from the banyan tree. The British are coming. the marketplace for eggs in Bora Bora [a neighboring island] is superb. Jane will arrive the next day. In 1943 the Russians murdered 10,000 Polish officials within the Katyn wooded area. A battle occasion is coming near near from Bora Bora. there's clean water within the subsequent cove. What does the confident scientist consider the sentences which the castaway calls information? Does he reject them as being fake or absurd? No, he's completely prepared to simply accept them so long as they meet his common of verification. by way of the severe old strategy he attaches a excessive measure of likelihood to the document that the British have been drawing close harmony. As for the water within the subsequent cove, he is going to work out for himself and so confirms the scoop or rejects it. yet what kind of value does he assign those sentences as he types them out within the seminar room? To him they convey the various virtually limitless variety of actual yet random observations that may be made in regards to the international. The homicide of the Polish officials could have been an outstanding tragedy, but in all honesty he can't assign to it a importance qualitatively varied from the sentence concerning the leaf falling from the banyan tree (nor might the castaway necessarily). this isn't to assert that those sentences are valueless as clinical facts. for instance, the presence of water within the subsequent cove may perhaps function an important datum for the descriptive technology of geography, or as an enormous clue in geology. This unmarried commentary may conceivably be the technique of verifying a progressive clinical theory—just because the sight of a celebrity on a selected evening in a specific position supplied dramatic affirmation of Einstein’s basic conception of relativity. The sentences in regards to the coming of the British and the homicide of the Polish officials could function major info from which, besides different such info, common old ideas could be drawn—just as Toynbee speaks of such and such an occasion as being a superb instance of such and any such old technique. In precis, the castaway will make a contrast among the sentences which assert a bit of information sub specie aeternitatis and the sentences saying a section of reports which bears without delay on his lifestyles. The scientist and philosopher, even if, can't, in as far as they're scientists and logicians, take account of the precise personality of those information sentences. To them they're empirical observations of a random order and, if major, they occupy at most sensible the very lowest rung of clinical value: they're the actual cases from which hypotheses and theories are drawn. (2) The Posture of the Reader of the Sentence the importance of the sentences for the reader depends on the reader’s personal mode of life on the planet. to assert this is often to claim not anything in regards to the fact of the sentences. Assuming that they're all real, they'll have a qualitatively diversified importance for the reader in keeping with his personal placement on the planet.

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