The 300,000-year-old scalped skull

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  • 28 May 2015 at 4:32 pm #7152

    Candy Minx

    “We are pretty sure that the these two fractures are the result of two repeated blows with the same implement,” Quam said. “And that implies a clear intent to kill.”

    Although there is evidence of cannibalism among early humans dating back 900,000 years, evidence of murder has been harder to come by. The authors cite two known examples in the paper, but in both cases, it is not clear that human-inflicted injury was indeed the cause of death.

    “What makes our paper so unusual is that we think we have evidence that this person died of these wounds,” Quam said.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  Candy Minx.
    28 May 2015 at 9:40 pm #7154


    Thank you Richard for your posts. I agree with much of your take on the subject. I thought the “The Spark of the Divine” post was from long ago, but I see that many themes and many similar threads seem to resurface over the years.

    I suppose I come at this from another angle but rather than spirit and divine spark I think in terms of energy. I’d rephrase it this way: “We are energy having a physical experience…. Death is when our energy is reabsorbed into the universal energy.” Everything is energy, but it can only become manifest in terms of physical structures. (e=mc^2 mass and energy are the same thing; in fact, particle physicists refer to the mass of subatomic particles in terms of their energies (electron volts.)) Living beings are isolated from the universal energy because they are the glimmering, sparking, burning emanations from the physical architecture of the world.

    Seems that McCarthy is concerned not only with the evolution of consciousness but particularly with the decline and fall of consciousness. Spiritual entropy. Ruin and decay run throughout the novel: abandoned works and empty buildings, churches slumping into ruin, gods routed from their golden cups, the Anasazi buildings standing in judgment against the present day heathen. Everywhere the monotonous decline and decline from a higher to lower order.

    29 May 2015 at 2:34 pm #7159

    Richard L.

    Re: “Death is when our energy is reabsorbed into the universal energy…”

    I’ve no argument with that, but I’ve been arguing from the point of view of the novel, as I take it. I think that the Oversoul in the prologue of SUTTREE speaks for the collective universal consciousness and I see that continuing in BLOOD MERIDIAN in the narrative intelligence and judgments akin to the Plato argument (which automatically brings up the anti-argument offered by Aristotle, the Third Man Argument). I think that McCarthy meant to denote the fire as coming in from outside the material vale. Exile and alien here.

    RE: …”Everywhere the monotonous decline and decline from a higher to lower order.”

    IT’s true that as McCarthy’s novels go on the spaces close in and the wildlife dies off, but that is exactly what has happened to the world during these years (see, for instance, Elizabeth Kolbert’s THE SIXTH EXTINCTION). I think he thinks that human nature has not changed much at all, no better no worse, that the same archetypes continue.

    Neanderthal Man became extinct in Europe after the arrival of our ancestors there but scientists don’t agree whether this was because of warfare or simply interbreeding, as they say that almost all of us carry at least some Neanderthal genes.

    The scalping epigraph for BLOOD MERIDIAN is fitting, but we don’t need the pre-historic evidence to convince us that animal man is a killer; we can just read history. We can just watch the news.

    29 May 2015 at 3:45 pm #7160


    In the epilogue the man digging the holes strikes “the fire out of the rock which God has put there.” G is capitalized, so it’s The god, in McCarthy’s terms. So the spark is within matter itself, and man, or least the man in the epilogue can strike the fire(energy) out of the rock. It is not alien or in exile so much as it is hidden or locked within the atomic bonds inside the stone.

    Meteors or falling stars are one of the beautiful motifs in the novel. The Kid is born during the famous Leonid meteor shower of 1833. Before he enters the jakes at the end, the kid watches meteors falling in the sky. “Burning spalls of matter” race across the darkness in their “chartless reckonings.” Here again, the light or fire is released from the matter which contains it. Meteors are pieces of rock which are vaporized into light(pure energy) as they are torn apart by the friction of earth’s upper atmosphere. (Also: the judge hurls the big meteorite in Tucson for a wager but that is another story.)

    Perhaps to the men in Blood Meridian the fire/spark is alien or exile to them because they are not looking for it or not aware if it or are indifferent to it. Or perhaps they are simply led astray to their “fraudulent destinies” by the judge, the great deceiver.

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