Book//mark – Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West | Cormac McCarthy, 1985

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Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, 1985                                                Cormac McCarthy


“The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from
birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick
in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither
analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate
destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous
beyond reckoning.

The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude
in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more
things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is
that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way.
For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being
but a fact among others.”

“War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him.
The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”

“When the lambs is lost in the mountain, he said. They is cry.
Sometime come the mother. Sometime the wolf.”

“Men of God and men of war have strange affinities.”

“A man’s at odds to know his mind cause his mind is aught he has to know it with. He can
know his heart, but he dont want to. Rightly so. Best not to look in there. It aint the heart
of a creature that is bound in the way that God has set for it. You can find meanness in
the least of creatures, but when God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature
that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil
that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it.”

“This is the nature of war, whose stake is at once the game and the authority and the
justification. Seen so, war is the truest form of divination. It is the testing of one’s will
and the will of another within that larger will which because it binds them is therefore
forced to select. War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity
of existence.War is god.”

“Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.”

“The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened
like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them and they
watched the fire which does contain within it something of men themselves inasmuch as
they are less without it and are divided from their origins and are exiles. For each fire is all
fires, and the first fire and the last ever to be.”

“Your heart’s desire is to be told some mystery. The mystery is that there is no mystery.”

“They were watching, out there past men’s knowing, where stars are drowning
and whales ferry their vast souls through the black and seamless sea.”

“The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery
and fear. Superstition will drag him down. The rain will erode the deeds of his life. But that
man who sets himself the task of singling out the thread of order from the tapestry will by
the decision alone have taken charge of the world and it is only by such taking charge that
he will effect a way to dictate the terms of his own fate.”

“If a man’s at odds to know his own mind it’s because
he hasn’t got aught but his mind to know it with.”

“The way of the world is to bloom and to flower and die but in the affairs of men there
is no waning and the noon of his expression signals the onset of night. His spirit is
exhausted at the peak of its achievement. His meridian is at once his darkening and
the evening of his day.”

“Here beyond men’s judgments all covenants were brittle.”

“Only now is the child finally divested of all that he has been. His origins are become
remote as is his destiny and not again in all the world’s turning will there be terrains
so wild and barbarous to try whether the stuff of creation may be shaped to man’s will
or whether his own heart is not another kind of clay.”

“They spoke less and less between them until at last they were silent altogether
as is often the way with travelers approaching the end of a journey.”

Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, 1985

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