Recognizing

Recognize.

Verb meaning “to acknowledge, to recall to mind, to know again.”

Its origin is 14th century French and is related to reconnaissance for “to know again” or “to acknowledge.”

Re of course means “again” and the root for cog is seen in words like “cognition” and “cognitive” and its root word notitia denotes knowledge.

Again I am on a Cormac McCarthy binge.

Other than Shakespeare’s tragedies I know of no other writer’s works in English whose words are more powerful.

I first read McCarthy in the 1990s when I was deployed in Bosnia with the Army under then-president Clinton.

While the world’s fickle attention span was upon all-things-Clinton and his fraternity boy antics with Monica, I was reading McCarthy between missions. And I was hooked.

McCarthy is an old man now but his mind and pen penetrate the biggest questions. That has been his writing pattern for over 50 years now.

Read him.

When I was deployed to Afghanistan during the heavy war years I read The Road for the second time. The thematic kinship to Job’s life in Scripture is formidable. I have not read anyone who has grappled sufficiently with what McCarthy puts forward.

Then there are my two favorites: Blood Meridian and Suttree. Both are unparalleled in American literature, in my view.

This week I read The Passenger.

Like his previous works it is not for the timid. If you want airport superficial reading, don’t read McCarthy.

McCarthy addresses theodicy, God, the despair of atheism/materialism, insanity, genius, beauty, language, and, of course, death.

But if you’ve the mind for the heaviest questions and will brave the darkness, McCarthy will meet you. He is there … waiting.

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