Indissolvable: On the Genealogy of the Judge

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  • 22 Jul 2015 at 8:57 pm #7362

    Glass
    Member

    Appreciate the comments and discussion. Hope to join in when I have more time. Many thanks. For my part, I’d like to hone in a little bit on the idea of “multiple points of origin” as I think this works rather nicely regarding the judge, both in how he’s portrayed in the book and how critics have viewed him and written about him.

    Rob, thanks for the kind words and for sharing that analogue from Whales.


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    23 Jul 2015 at 2:50 am #7363

    Richard L.
    Member

    Re: “I guess one should be wary of popular interpretations of Plato.”

    Well, yes, but Max Tegmark is a scientist with credentials and he teaches physics at MIT. The term “super-Platonian” comes from the work cited, by the way. His argument is arguable.


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    24 Jul 2015 at 8:26 pm #7376

    Glass
    Member

    Coincidentally, Brian Leiter (cited in the OP) has a new paper out on Nietzsche. In it, Leiter reviews a book on Nietzsche’s naturalism. I very much enjoy (and envy) the clarity and precision with which Leiter writes about philosophy. It’s something I strive for in my own meager writing pursuits but too infrequently succeed. Check out the paper (I was able to read the downloadable pdf):
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2634681

    PS: I read somewhere recently about a project regarding Nietzsche’s “library” that chronicles the various books Nietzsche read throughout his lifetime and kept in his personal collection. I hope a similar project is undertaken one day on McCarthy’s library. Now that would be a thing to study, to paraphrase Tobin.


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    25 Jul 2015 at 12:29 pm #7377

    Richard L.
    Member

    re: Naturalism

    Thanks for the link. That was a scathing review of the book.

    The old me, with whom I find it easy to identify, was a Jack London naturalist, but the me of late reckons with quantum mechanics. I contradict myself sometimes but I am not alone in that observable moment.

    Jack London contradicted himself. “TO BUILD A FIRE” is a work of naturalism. Nature is neither for nor against human existence. It is indifferent. In this world, nature goes right on without man. It was there before man, it will be there after man is extinct.

    In other works, though, such as in the opening of WHITE FANG, Jack London gave intention to nature:

    “Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway. The
    trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of
    frost, and they seemed to lean towards each other, black and
    ominous, in the fading light. A vast silence reigned over the
    land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without
    movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that
    of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter, but of a laughter
    more terrible than any sadness–a laughter that was mirthless as
    the smile of the sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking
    of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and
    incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life
    and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozen-
    hearted Northland Wild.”

    Here an observer/narrator with human proclivities makes judgments. It is debatable whether this is still naturalism, even though the narrator says it is. This is the same trouble that we have with BLOOD MERIDIAN being a work of naturalism: The narrator is constantly making value judgments of “like some.”

    Joseph Conrad said that he was “an animal” before his Congo experience which awoke him to a higher level of consciousness, which he wrote of in HEART OF DARKNESS and before that, in AN OUTPOST OF PROGRESS. Animal man is no different than the animals, subject to naturalism, but is there a higher state of consciousness that might choose a higher course of conduct?

    Those that say “no” cannot see the other side of the argument, while those who say “yes” may have been on the “no” side before and have crossed over. For some, it is the same as the free will argument; for others, it becomes the glass-half-full-or-half-empty argument.

    Cormac McCarthy has written it both ways–at every turn, there is a choosing–but how could it be otherwise? Shakespeare too saw it both ways–MacBeth was ruled by the fates; Hamlet could mull over some choices–or at least to be or not to be.


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    20 Apr 2016 at 1:39 pm #8260

    Richard L.
    Member

    Well, this is as good a thread to put this in as any, since hardly anyone reads this forum–anymore, anyway.

    Part of this is because the enormously adroit critical literature has exhaustedly (although never definitively) explained McCarthy’s rather small lifetime output. He isn’t the mystery he used to be. Yet I have never seen anyone tie the “You ain’t nothing” line to Shakespeare’s King Lear.

    So, to whom it may concern:

    “Thou art an 0 without a figure…Thou art nothing,” the Fool tells Lear, after the dialogue with Cordelia that destroys the king’s peace of mind.

    Of course, early on John Sepich noted that the kid resembled the Tarot’s Fool, and Shakespeare’s context shows that he may have been the first to recognize the difference between nothing and nothing with the zero removed.


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    23 Apr 2016 at 8:11 pm #8261

    wesmorgan
    Participant

    Richard: Nice find for the “You aint nothin” line (Blood Meridian, p. 331). Kudos.


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    24 Apr 2016 at 6:06 pm #8262

    davor123
    Member

    I haven’t been here in a while and I would like to ask if anyone here has read the works by Julius Evola, Ernst Jünger, Nikolai Berdyaev and Vladimir Solovyov? The idea of Godmanhood is central to Berdyaev and Solovyev. Solovyov was Dostoevsky’s friend and there is some speculation that he was an inspiration for Dostoevsky’s characters such as Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov. And, of course, I’ve already mentioned Max Stirner. It should be noted that Max Stirner was very influential in Petrashevsky circle to which Dostoevsky belonged. It could be argued that a part of inspiration for Holden came from that direction and that it is just the idea of Godmanhood which appears in works by Dostoevsky, Berdyaev and Solovyov.
    Evola and Jünger on the other hand inspired the whole “theology of war” aspect, which also has its origin in some Hindu beliefs like the ones in Bhagavad Gita. If you are unfamiliar with Bhagavad Gita here is a brief info from Wikipedia:

    The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Lord Krishna. Facing the duty as a warrior to fight the Dharma Yudhha or righteous war between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna is counselled by Lord Krishna to “fulfill his Kshatriya (warrior) duty as a warrior and establish Dharma.” Inserted in this appeal to kshatriya dharma (chivalry) is “a dialogue … between diverging attitudes concerning methods toward the attainment of liberation (moksha)”. The Bhagavad Gita was exposed to the world through Sanjaya, who senses and cognizes all the events of the battlefield. Sanjaya is Dhritarashtra’s advisor and also his charioteer.

    Also, Berdyaev mentions Bhagavad Gita favorably, Sri Aurobindo’s interpretation in particular. You can also read Aurobindo’s Savitri. Here is some info from Wikipedia:

    Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol is an epic poem in blank verse by Sri Aurobindo, based upon the theology from the Mahabharata. Its central theme revolves around the transcendence of man as the consummation of terrestrial evolution, and the emergence of an immortal supramental gnostic race upon earth. Unfinished at Sri Aurobindo’s death, Savitri approaches 24,000 lines.


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