Does Cormac McCarthy lean more toward Plato or Aristotle?

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  • 16 Jul 2012 at 3:51 am #1717

    Richard L.
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    Mostly in regard to the divide between mind/body that Plato saw, but which Aristotle denied.

    The answer is that in the first three novels, Old Testament McCarthy, Aristotle is there alone. Plato is dominant in SUTTREE. Aristotle is dominant in BLOOD MERIDIAN, though there is a minority report of critics who see Plato there. Plato is dominant in the Border Trilogy.

    SUNSET LIMITED is a toss up, a jump ball like you use to see in basketball back in the 1950s. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a toss-up again, up to the reader’s interpretation.

    THE ROAD belongs to neither Greek, but only to the Roman, Marcus Aurelius. McCarthy told Oprah that he wanted the novel to make people feel grateful, even if they didn’t know to whom they should address their gratitude.

    The line is, “Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.” A man ought to live life as if it were a thing barrowed, and he ought to be prepared to give it back any time, saying here, I thank you for this life which I have had in my possession.


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    02 Aug 2012 at 11:47 pm #1763

    Glass
    Member

    Speaking of lines and divisions, I think a case can be made for using Plato’s Analogy of the Divided Line as an alternative to the various readings of the Blood Meridian. Visible world for Plato and “visible ground” for the posthole digger and the wanderers on the plain.

    I’m also interested in the young man who joins the fiddler (334) at the dance at at the time the kid meets the judge in the outhouse. His appearance at this key moment is intriguing and perhaps generated by the death of the kid/man. This new young man’s actions of keeping the measure of the music by playing a pair of spoons oddly anticipates the action of the posthole digger, who also uses both hands in his activity which also keeps the beat or marks the time (and creates a line of holes that is segmented by the crossing of it by the wandererers which is analogous to Plato’s divided line).

    Peter


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    20 Jan 2013 at 12:10 pm #2884

    Greg S.
    Member

    Geez, rummaging through this neck of the forum is like rummaging through a cemetery — tombstones everywhere (“RIP”).  Is anyone going to delete the old current events threads?

    Rather than start a new thread on philosophy, and at the risk of provoking hoots, I was wondering whether anyone had ever run McCarthy’s work through the lense of the anthroposophists – i.e., e.g. Rudolf Steiner.  Germany must still be a hotbed of anthroposophist activity (e.g., Waldorf Schools).  I just stumbled across another reference to Anthropospohy this weekend and read a bit about Steiner’s early and later thinking.  He dealt with the tension between science and spirituality, and his thinking included certain Gnostic elements.  Apparently, he changed his stance towards Christianity late in life, but much of his early thinking centers around themes that crop up frequently in McCarthy’s works.  Just another breadcrumb to drop off.


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    20 Jan 2013 at 2:15 pm #2886

    Richard L.
    Member

    Re: Rudolf Steiner

    Sometime back (perhaps in the last forum) I mentioned reading several of Gary Lachman’s books, including Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction To His Life And Work (2007).  Lachman did his research, among other places,  at the Rudolf Steiner Library in Ghent, New York, and at the library of the Rudolf Steiner House in London.

    Any researcher looking for common threads between Steiner and Cormac McCarthy’s wide net of spiritual nuances could certainly come up with some, as with some of the other contemporary philosophers who influenced Steiner himself.  Lachman says that, early on, Steiner used the terms buddhi, atman, and mana, which reminded me about Bell’s philosophizing about mana in No Country For Old Men.


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