Stumbled upon in leisurely weekend readings

I think if you were Satan and you were settin around tryin to think up somethin that would just bring the human race to its knees what you would probably come up with is narcotics. Maybe he did. I told that to somebody at breakfast the other mornin and they asked me if I believed in Satan. I said Well that aint the point. And they said I know but do you? I had to think about that. I guess as a boy I did. Come the middle years my belief I reckon had waned somewhat. Now I’m startin to lean back the other way. He explains a lot of things that otherwise dont have no explanation.
–Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

7 thoughts on “Stumbled upon in leisurely weekend readings

  1. Don’t know if anyone else is having this problem, but I can’t see the body of your posts when I click on the “continue reading” button. Doesn’t seem to be a problem with posts by other contributors, but with your posts only. But in any event, by “narcodics” you’re not just talking the illegal kind are you?

    • There’s no more to this post than the quote, and my posts lately have been fairly short so I haven’t felt the need to break them up. I’m not sure why you’re seeing a “Continue Reading” link at all; I don’t see one.

  2. He explains a lot of things that otherwise dont have no explanation.

    Satan’s existence explains a lot of things for those of us who have eyes to see. Apparently many people don’t even notice these things that shock us by their evil. My mother-in-law, an atheist and liberal, once said to me, “I believe all people are basically good!” I couldn’t believe it; I mean, look around you, woman, I wanted to say (but didn’t). It takes a special kind of denial not to notice the pervasive evil.

    • That’s actually a theme touched on in the book, as well. Another quote:

      I read in the papers here a while back some teachers come across a survey that was sent out back in the thirties to a number of schools around the country. Had this questionnaire about what was the problems with teachin in the schools. And they come across these forms, they’d been filled out and sent in from around the country answerin these questions. And the biggest problems they could name was things like talkin in class and runnin in the hallways. Chewin gum. Copyin homework. Things of that nature. So they got one of them forms that was blank and printed up a bunch of em and sent em back out to the same schools. Forty years later. Well, here come the answers back. Rape, arson, murder. Drugs. Suicide. So I think about that. Because a lot of the time ever when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I’m gettin old. That it’s one of the symptoms. But my feelin about that is that anybody that cant tell the difference between rapin and murderin people and chewin gum has got a whole lot bigger of a problem than what I’ve got. Forty years is not a long time neither. Maybe the next forty of it will bring some of em out from under the ether. If it aint too late.

  3. Some part of me believes that the Lord is allowing the Enemy to run rampant in the world so people like me can open their eyes, recognize supernatural evil, and reach desperately for God’s mercy. I hate sounding like a millennialist. Perhaps it was always this way. However, this degree of evil, such that the powers that be call evil good, and good evil, seems better explained by some horned influence. Everything seems to be so outside the acceptable range of moral behavior; its cognitive dissonance makes me believe that there is something supernatural at hand. It may be a blessing in disguise, because if the prince of this world is out there, so is the Lord. However, it pains me to think about my children, who will inherit an Earth under Satan’s dominion, and will have to endure trials that perhaps few of us are prepared to endure.

  4. Have you ever walked into a room where really bad people were doing really bad things? I have, once or twice, and it seemed to me there was something hanging in the air like a bad odor. It wasn’t an odor I smelled with my nose; I sensed it with my soul, much as I sense beauty or goodness. When we sense beauty, we often say that it is “sweet.” When I sensed evil, I would say that it was fetid, like the combined odor of soiled laundry, rank garbage and stale urine.

    I don’t think I’m especially sensitive to this “smell”–perhaps because I’m an ordinary sinner who carries a whiff of it about on myself–but when I have smelt it I felt sure I was in the presence of something. There was something in addition to the bad people and the bad things they were doing.

    When I was thirteen we visited the family of my mother’s cousin, and my second cousin asked me if I wanted to go roller skating at the high school. I did, so we went there; but at the door he told me he was going to a “party” and would return for me later. Eventually I went looking for him and found this “party,” which was a gang of drunk and drug-addled teenagers in a half-lit basement, necking and petting. That’s how I would later learn to describe it. Then I just smelt the “odor”, and it was more than alcohol fumes, body odor and smoke.

    One last detail. Before we left for the roller skating, my second cousin, who had until then been a normal boy, slyly showed me a Black Sabbath album he had purchased. I know this will sound like 1970s satanism hysteria, but that also triggered in me an automatic horror and foreboding. I had never heard of Black Sabbath, but I instinctively knew that this could not be good.

    I know that there are all sorts of ways to explain this experience away; and I am, in fact, pretty good at explaining away seemingly preternatural experiences. But this is one that remains with me as irreducibly uncanny. And no, it did not go well for my second cousin. It went just about as badly as it is possible for a life to go.

  5. I think if you were Satan and you were settin around tryin to think up somethin that would just bring the human race to its knees what you would probably come up with is narcotics.

    What you would come up with is nihilism. Which leads to the view that only the pleasures of the moment count. Which leads to drug-taking, and a host of other evils.


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