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22 Dec 2015 at 2:45 pm #7971
Candy: I like the frame. Astronom/log/ical, otherworldly, spacey.
Richard: There have been occasions when the occult in McCarthy is indisputable or very likely the case. E.g., the tarot’s major arcana cards and the minor arcana card in Blood Meridian are indisputable because they are part of the text, even if each of us might have different interpretations. When siropJack (where is he nowadays?) posted McCarthy’s self-portrait for the first time here, I immediately concluded the squiggle over his face is the symbol of the zodiac’s Cancer. I’d consider that very likely the case; there were other interpretations posted in this forum, some not involving the occult at all, e.g., that they were merely artistic pencil lines.
Actually, I didn’t believe McCarthy when he said the 117 was chosen for no particular reason, that it is just a number.
KenQuote22 Dec 2015 at 3:31 pm #7972
I didn’t believe McCarthy either. What did he say? He couldn’t remember what the number 117 was referencing? Did he say he couldn’t remember? Or that it was chosen for no particular reason?
I believe we were up to 3 mentions of the number 117 by No Country For Old Men. “At supper this evenin she told me she’d been readin St. John.” The number has been utilized a fourth time too.
The math I get from the fourth appearance of the number 117 is pretty fun.
I am loving this thread…because it so very interesting the usage of the word “occult.”
The idea that the common usage of occult has come to mean tarot, or secret, or mysterious, …instead of the meaning “hidden” is so interesting.
If you think about it….what was “hidden” 20,000 years ago? It wasn’t tarot cards, or ghosts, or gravity, or ouji boards, or magical organizations.
If we study societies that retain customs from generation to generation in hunter-gatherer societies there is no separation between the supernatural or the material.
It is industrial societies that have co-opted “occult” and lost the art of sharing useful information from generation to generation.
Today most parents in industrial societies believe the best information for their kids can be doled out at school. But schools don’t teach the connections between knowledge and the hidden. So sad.
Thank goodness for artists and writers, like Cormac McCarthy, that still focus their work on the occult.
22 Dec 2015 at 5:38 pm #7974
- This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Candy Minx.
Again, I’m not saying that your interpretations are less valid than mine.
Indeed, the tarot cards in BLOOD MERIDIAN seal the fate of the gang, as with the witches in MACBETH.
And it may be that McCarthy will use numerology, as you say, rather than the complicated mathematics of, say, Max Tegmark and the physics of Kurt Godel. But I suspect that he will throw everything into the mix and let the reader find his own string in the maze.
30 Dec 2015 at 11:41 am #7976
Re: a Cormac McCarthy quote at this link: http://www.assistnews.net/index.php/component/k2/item/862-cormac-mccarthy-gives-us-a-peek-at-the-passenger-please-use-this-version
“He didn’t have a language yet. But one thing he understood is that one thing can be another thing.”
Analogies and equations as narrative thought, the basis of everything. As I said, this is not a new idea, but goes back to the ancients, and not just to Pythagoras/Plato, but also from the Sanskrit sources of ancient India. From Robert Calasso’s KA: STORIES OF THE MIND AND GODS OF INDIA:
“…a frame to Death, a frame that amounts to everything that is…this is like that, this corresponds to that, this is equivalent to that, this is that…if this is that, then that corresponds to this other thing–Prajapati went on. . .
Slender bonds wrapped themselves like ribbons around this and that. The bonds stretched, invisible to many, but not to the one who put them there. With a sentinel’s eye, Prajapati went on watching Death. But with the eye that wanders, that evokes images, numbers, and words, he went on getting things to fall together, sometimes things that were far apart, getting them to coincide. . .
. . .so that looking around he could now see how every dapple of vegetation, every outline of a rock, concealed a number, a word, an equivalence, a mental state that clung and mingled with another state. As if every state were a number. As if every number were a state. This was the first equivalence, origin of all others.
This idea has been with us a long, long time.
As Rick Wallach mentioned here, Alexander Marshack’s magnificent THE ROOTS OF CIVILIZATION, published in 1991, went a long way towards explaining how counting and numbers were combined with myth to make symbols. The many pictures of notched artifacts reminds me of Barry Fell’s books, though Fell is not in his bibliography. Marshack, in turn, has not been mentioned in the bibliographies of such works as Martin Lockley’s THE ETERNAL TRAIL: A TRACKER LOOKS AT EVOLUTION (1999) nor of such recent works as Christopher Stevens’s WRITTEN IN STONE: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE STONE AGE AND THE ORIGINS OF MODERN LANGUAGE (2015).
So it goes.
31 Dec 2015 at 2:24 pm #7980
I read THE ROOTS OF CIVILIZATION as a kid…so you might want to look into your sources there Richard. It’s a really old book.
I read it as a teen and it was part of a number of books written about very similar theories…using Marshacks book and research. These ideas became super trendy on the west coast….and where I grew up playing on petroglyphs on the beach. I learned about this stuff from my friends…and the language of Haida and myths of my friends. And then these books on archaeology and knowledge became rather trendy among new-age societies. Much more respected than in academia, how interesting, right?
Marshack is a bit of a fucking hero to me…in the same way one of my other idols…Frances Yates is a hero. They were both in the same line of research at different ends. I immersed myself in both of their works when I was in art school. I was mad about the connection between archaeology and renaissance and codes and layers in renaissance art….and then working back through Byzantine and then into paleo art.
Yates and Marshak are great examples of how laypersons…or independent scholars have an edge over academic researchers….because when one is inside the academic system one has to produce a certain amount of duties and customs…therefore robbing the academic or traditional scholar of time.
An indépendant scholar and researcher just has a day-job. Therefore lay-astronomers are often the folks who discover supernovas or new things in the sky. They have the spare time for research.
Also..Yates and Marshak really used so much of their life researching…their accomplishments reside kind of under the heading “late bloomer” which I myself…have always felt I am. I am a terribly slow learner with some disabilities and how information and knowledge infuses me is very odd and slow…although this also adds a strength to memory and interconnections.
The quote from Robert Colasso…shows me you are getting warmer! That is a good description of the ways in which knowledge and transmission occurs….in pre-literate and pre-science cultures.
Finally Richard…I don’t think you were saying that my “interpretations” are less valid than yours. Perhaps you might be underestimating McCarthy’s knowledge story and story history. I am not at all offended…it is my role to keep on persevering with communications. It’s not personal. It’s communication.
I totally understand why you might qualify my views as “interpretations”….I’m okay with that….but can you also see how that might sound dismissive? And you might be positioning yourself on the wrong side of history assuming I am using “interpretations?”
Also I shall leave you with an anecdote I have share here many times….as I am a broken record on this topic….
Margaret Atwood was at a cocktail party many years ago, and she was chatting with a fellow and he was telling her that he was a brain surgeon and what his work was like and such. Then he asked what she did for a living and she said “I write novels.” He said “What a coincidence when I retire I am going to write novels.” And Margaret Atwood said, “Well, that is a coincidence because when I retire I’m going to be a brain surgeon.”
31 Dec 2015 at 6:46 pm #7984
I could clarify one issue for Richard and Candy. Alexander Marshack’s The Roots Of Civilization was published in 1971. Twenty years later, in 1991, a second edition was published, with changes. Quoted from Amazon website: “This second edition includes research conducted in the ensuing 20 years in some 100 international collections and from analytical studies in Spanish and French caves. Much of the original is reprinted with textual changes; additions appear in the margins. The foreword and a final chapter, “Two Decades Later,” further bring Marshack’s study up to date and show how his questions and analytical methods have gained widespread validity.“
KenQuote02 Jan 2016 at 12:02 am #7985
Not sure if you guys’ve seen this article, I just came across it.
Is that last line, “He lives in Santa Fe with his wife,” just poor reporting or is he married again?
asoron0424Quote02 Jan 2016 at 11:17 am #7986
Yes, Ken it was re-issued and the two books together are interesting to compare. I didn’t mean to imply that the book hadn’t been re-printed….which is the version Richard mentioned.
…it’s a very positive thing that the book by Christopher Stevens doesn’t have any mention of Marshak. Stevens is an abominable writer who writes for one of the worst publications in the world. So it’s good he didn’t think he was worthy of quoting or referencing Marshack!
As for Marshak not referencing Barry Fell there are probably a couple of reasons for that omission. The main one is likely keeping distance. Barry Fell was considered a joke and not accurate…sort of avoiding Fell was Like Bruce Rauner dropping Rahm Emanuel. And didn’t Marshacks book come out before Fells’ first big publishing? I don’t know but they were really both being published at about the same time in the 70’s.
A lot of people don’t believe Barry Fell’s work is accurate or provable. My feeling is that Barry Fell was on the right track…but he was using the wrong argument. I feel he was a classic case of his Western ethnocentricity blinding him from Occams razor. His argument was more complicated than the actual set of events. I might say it so that Fell had a aim to promote “civilization” rather than seeing that pre-literate cultures were more sophisticated than industrial scientific culture believed…and he was just as conditioned as anybody else.
Barry Fell is one of those interesting cases of a scientist who was both intensely correct and intensely wrong. I don’t think anyone is going to comfortably quote or reference his work.
02 Jan 2016 at 11:19 am #7987
asorono, thanks for the link…it’s probably a mistake…maybe the writer was using an out-of-date bio of McCarthy?
24 Jan 2016 at 10:09 am #8056
This link may have been posted before, but if not, it is worth a look and a listen:
Nicholas McCarthy plays Bach on youtube, left-handed:
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