McCarthy and the Bible

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  • 08 Apr 2012 at 1:30 am #738

    Candy Minx

    Peter, you totally blew my mind about the idea of the kid being illiterate…and carrying the Bible…but yet…it doesn’t mean he wasn’t familiar with everything in it. I think you have just said one of the most insightful and inspiring things I’ve heard anyone say about Bloood meridian in a long long time. I am bowled over. I’m just having a huge paradigm shift in my head and peak moment!!!

    08 Apr 2012 at 1:38 am #739

    Candy Minx

    Bunny McVane, I found myself reading and re-reading your thoughtful post. I really like how you write and the tone here in this post. I’ve been reading essays aby marilynne robinson and she is lovely and you have a similar style…and it also reminded me of Laurie Stewrt when i was reading Robinson…a kind of feeling of reverence for living tone.

    One thing that has grabbed my attention was this observation of yours:

    “One thing I found very ironic is that Alter seems to think that McCarthy is using this prose style for purposes that are “antithetical” to the Bible.”

    I feel very funny about this comment and might have to day dream on it for a bit. I think blood Meridian is antithetical to the Bible…but maybe its more that I HOPE it is ha ha because it is fear ha ha! I shall try to find a decent set of thoughts regarding this reaction and your post comments in general.

    08 Apr 2012 at 2:10 am #740

    Candy Minx


    Um, yes I meant that the emotional factors surrounding the Bible would be through initiation practices and community. I did not have those…it just does not affect me the way it does say…easy example at hand…my husband. He went through an initiation process and it is embedded in his family and community for generations. He actually believes in the devil.

    I don’t in anywway see the community and initiation factors as diminishing the value of a philosophy or religion or sacred text…and i want to be clear because I am sure it could easily be associated with a dismissal. I am not dismissing religion, or a sacred text. I am rejecting the idea that one is more “essential” than another.

    I don’t have a problem with the rituals surrounding initiation and sacred texts. Heck…we have initiation rituals and community customs surrounding university life and many organizations we might not consider religious or spiritual.

    Memorizing, practice, study, repetition and spiritual passion is enhanced with such customs and initiation rituals are not exclusive to religions or reading sacred texts.

    So…I get WHY someone would give a lot of weight to the Bible and even believe it must be read to enhance other reading. where pride comes in is thinking it is a “major’ or essential source or reference for McCarthy, Robinson, Melville or any writer. I guess I tend to think…if the writer is dead…so are their sources! I think giving any extra weight to the bible over the quran or bagavedita is pride. Pride for ones own experience and community over others community and experience.

    I like the pop culture reference regarding punk rock metal and rap. “anger and violence in punk, metal, and rap are an immediate response for those lacking initiation into something greater. The disenchanted voices are a result of internalized frustrations, torpor.”

    How I see that I would extend to fans of Bob Dylan or The Chocolate Drops or any sub group of a wider movement. I think humans define layers of community in order to experience “something greater”. I think disenchanted voices will move like chaos until they find a deliverence…if its within a music scene, or a terrorist cell, or a religion. Or a university. Or till they o.d. on drugs and booze. I think we are seeing intense growth and spreading of disenchanted voices becoming a cultural norm worldwide…but especially in North America. Its now become “hipsters”.

    How many hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb?

    The number is really obscure you probably haven’t heard of it.

    Now…its this impossible holy grail to be rare and unique…but its amassive community of folks who are all still believing there is some music they can discover or some polyester shirt or a big trend is to play an instrument no one has heard of. But thousands, millions, of people are doing this…its quite weird.

    And its related to Aden who feels he is the only person who understands “tradition”. That his theory of a “postism” is not authentic philosophy. Like anything remotely contemporary or popular isn’t authentic.

    Well this “hipster” obsession with authenticity and uniqueness and obscurity seems to me to be under the umbrella of what AA calls “terminal uniqueness” and I think that is why we see so much addiction. I think the punk scene was one phase and manifestation of this desire to be “rare” and “outside of the cave”…not able to be punked and not able to be part of a large community. Its like the disenfranchized voices have now made their own pop culture church. In fact fundamentalists, hipsters and disenfranchized have more in common than they’d probably like to accept. They are angry!

    You know Mike, another pop culture thing I heard about emotions…was a motivational speaker on Oprahs network called Iyana Vansant. She says there are two emotions. Love and fear.

    Anger, pride, envy…every emotion falls under a form of fear. And then there is love. So you are either feeling fear or love. I don’t know…just came to my mind…

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  Candy Minx.
    08 Apr 2012 at 10:54 am #742


    Just wanted to experiment with posting on the new site for the first time by saying you made my day with what you said about me and Marilyn Robinson. She’s a stunning writer. “A reverence for a living tone.” Wow, thank you. And I second your nod to Glass’s observation about the kid carrying with him the Bible that he cannot read. That is an image worth pondering this Easter morning. Thanks, Peter!

    08 Apr 2012 at 11:08 am #743


    I’m having a hard time following your argument CandyMinx (this is no criticism, the fault may be mine). You speak of agendas and fundamentalism yet say things like ” I guess I tend to think…if the writer is dead…so are their sources!” This is how you murder a text and pin and mount it. You are left with a dead letter. This is opposite of Tradition, which evolves and modifies and even generates new tradition. McCarthy clearly writes in the Judeo-Christian tradition. This has no bearing on whether he actually believes in God or Jesus. The response of certain scientific materialists towards religion in general and Christianity in particular betrays their entrapment (from their perspective) in that tradition. The terms are not set by you, McCarthy, or Hitchens or Dawkins or anyone else. There is only the recognition that this is true or denial, the latter of which is a culture killer. Over time, perhaps there will be a general development towards a worldwide perennial philosophy wherein all the prophets from all the religions are recognized as being right, and that the ‘initiations’ and exoteric trappings of these prophet’s various ‘home’ religions will fade into obscurity, but that will be the product of tradition too, which can already be found nearly a thousand years ago in Joachim of Fiore in the case of Christianity, and to an extent, in Ibn Arabi in Islam.

    08 Apr 2012 at 11:29 am #744



    Very interesting work there.

    “This part of the book that details the kid’s travels after recovering from leg surgery, might be informed not only by those couple of verses of Romans 8, but the entire chapter. Bunny McVane’s point about knowledge of the Bible really jumped out at me as I’ve been thinking about how while the kid might not be able to read the book, that in no way precludes his knowing what’s inside it.”

    I’ll amplify your comment with Black’s self described ‘heresy’ from Sunset Limited:

    White (Pointing at bible) You dont think you have to believe everything in there in order to be saved?

    Black No I dont. I dont think you even have to read it. I aint for sure you even got to know there is such a book. I think whatever truth is wrote in these pages is wrote in the human heart too and it was wrote there a long time ago and will still be wrote there a long time hence. Even if this book is burned ever copy of it. What Jesus said? I dont think he made up a word of it. I think he just told it.

    I think the Kid now become Man’s betrayal of this book, which presumably he had in his possession when he murdered Elrod, is what leads directly to his date in the jakes with the Judge.

    08 Apr 2012 at 11:50 am #745

    Richard L.

    Re: Marilynne Robinson.

    For people just dropping by, several members of this forum have were engaged in a dicussion about her just before the new forum was established. As it happens, my wife just showed me an article in our local paper by a business professional who says she has never read fiction much–thought it juvenile–but recently heard a writer named Marilynne Robinson talk on NPR about the possibilities of fiction and this prompted her to think again.

    RE: “You know Mike, another pop culture thing I heard about emotions…was a motivational speaker on Oprahs network called Iyana Vansant. She says there are two emotions. Love and fear.”

    I don’t know of her, but I detest professional motivational speakers in general.

    Love/fear? No, as a rule, desire/fear is the toggle for children and ego dominated man (which in this materialist society is almost everybody). Think of Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice.” But lust and greed and addictions can be subliminal escapes for fear, and so in this material vale the Judge looks out upon a landscape whose true geology is not stone but fear.

    According to the latest science, the prefrontal cortex can develop circuitry in humans by their early twenties, making them capable of developing love and compassion, but a lot of people never get it. Or so it seems.

    And a happy Easter/Passover to all, though love is the only redeemer I know.

    08 Apr 2012 at 12:44 pm #746

    Bunny McVane

    I’m having difficulty finding a definition for “postism” — looked in OED and Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. What does it mean?

    08 Apr 2012 at 1:09 pm #747

    Candy Minx

    Celment, my dear sir, no no the dragon is swallowing its own tail…I don’t have one particular argument…and I don’t feel I could convinve anyone here of anything…except if there is one reaction I am having to be specific…let me re-state.

    I don’t think the Bible is a representation, especially a failsafe representation of tradition. I don’t think if one does not respnd in the same way that followers of the ible or religions of the Bible do…that means they are missing something essential. I do not think the bbible or any sacred text is essential. I am not even sure I think any novel is essential.

    And I am not dismissing the experience of initiation or religion. I am completely at peace with the idea that most of the people in the world have strong powerful experiences of life associated with their communities including religious groups.

    I myself have been initiated into Buddhism and Hinduism meditations and practices. I spent many many years meditating with groups of monks, nuns and theology students and teachers. I meditate twice a day for almost an hour a setting and have done so since I was 13 years old. I’ve taken part in Holi, in transubstantiation, in seances, in UFO watching, in aura reading, had my tarot read all my life, been to many of the most beautiful cathedrals and temples in the world. My favourite conversations are about the human condition, faith, atheism, god, religion, and the restaurant at the end of the universe.

    And I am still not convinved that the Qu’ran, the Bbbile or the Bagavadgita are essential or ultimate representations of tradition. The more time passes the more I think less of their importance or essentiality.

    That is my argument…and I am fairly fucking “qualifed” to state it, ha ha.

    I also don’t think Blood Meridian, Moby dick, Cities of The Red Night, David Copperfield or 2666 are essential. Yet…they all have given me paradigm shifts every it as profound as meditation or love or metaphysical experiences more obviously associated with human wisdom.

    Another argument I am stating is wisdom is within the matrix of nature…it is not a human dominion.

    And…I said “if” the writer is dead, then I tend to think so are their sources. I mean this is a much lighter manner than it seems it is coming across in print. I believe it is Rick who often proposes the writer is dead…and I feel we could extend that to all the writers…this is not somethign I believe but somethign worth thinkign about. I don’t have a conclusion Clment. I don’t have a conclusion about anything clement…and that is a thrid argument I am stating.

    My fourth argument is I think Aden’s thoughts here represent narrow-mindedness. I have no idea if he intends that…but he is writing in a manner that I personally and philosophically find narrow viewed regarding the rest of humanities ideas…outside his own trendy religious agenda.

    And I call bullshit on that idea of his contemporary version of ideas such as “McCarthy is closer to a Protestant than Catholic view” paraphrasing.

    Bunny McVane…i have no idea what “postism” means either except Aden uses it a lot and seems to mean it as a following of people who like postmodernism. And I feel there is nothing more “postism” or post-modern than writing soethig like this:

    “I find the reaction that mention of tradition often evokes interesting. Thankfully the decline of postism has greatly reduced the number of meaningless proclamations propounded when discussion of the conceptual category arises. I haven’t had to explain why fighting against the “essentialism” of the necessity of cognitive conceptualization is an inherently self-contradictory endeavor in a couple of years. Whatever one may think of the importance of tradition, there is no doubt that it is essential to McCarthy.”

    so clement my fourth argument is I am calling bullshit on what I see is a series of narrow-minded worldviews…in my opinion and hypocritical statements that divide community.

    My fifth argument is that holistic sharing of ideas, of a leaning back on family and community is the most essential thing for community and community is the apex of tradition. concepts like “catholic versus protestant” or postism versus fundamentalism” are split and divide arguments rather than open-minded community dialoque of a community. dismissing everyone else who doesn’t follow the Bbbile as an essential text is ethnocentric.

    And btw…I didn’t say throw out the sacred texts. I like the Bible…but lets face it…its kind of la di da until Jesus comes along. Jesus is what makes the Bible way more interesting. Its like holy cow! who is this Jesus?…and who is this goddess Mary Magdelene? And man are they ever the most wicked protesters!

    08 Apr 2012 at 1:14 pm #748

    Candy Minx

    Richard L, I am not a big fan of motivational speakers myself…but i do like to study them. I enjoy some of them who are really passionate…like Deepak Chopra I think is a hoot.I liked Steve jobs too. I enjoy Wayne Dyer too. I think for me…my enjoyment of motivational speakers is depending on what their topics are…

    Vansant is okay, she is actually kind of funny. she is a motivational speaker on spiritual matters and I enjoy seeing how she seems to be able to inspire a lot of people. especially women. I was not claiming that she was accurate or fact based about “there are only two emotions, love and fear”. I believe she was suggesting the concept as a koan. and as a koan I have found it a very interesting thread of inquiry.

    I don’t see it as having anything to do with brain science, but I did enjoy reading your post very much. Robert Frosts poem is a lovely comparison and great reference.

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