Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vector: Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy :: Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams

The Cave of the Bear in the Manticore:

Ramsay's confessional narrative in Fifth Business advances from his instinctive repudiation of Presbyterian Christianity, through his infatuation with the miracles of his Fool Saint and his scholarly work on recognized saints, to a final position in which he pledges allegiance "to the mountain castle Sorgenfrie and the anima-ogre who lives there" as I expressed it earlier. In the Manticore, having completed his year-long Jungian analysis, David accompanies Liselotte into the bear cave where, "not less than seventy-five thousand years ago" men "sacrificed and at of the noblest thing they could conceive, hoping to share in its virtue, "and in that cave flings herself "face down before the skulls of bears" in fervent prayer before returning to Sorgenfrei for Christmas Day.  - From Aspects of Robertson Davies's Novels By Victor J. Lams

Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams

The soft, clay-like floor of the cave retains the paw prints of cave bears along with large, rounded, depressions that are believed to be the "nests" where the bears slept. Fossilized bones are abundant and include the skulls of cave bears and the horned skull of an ibex. - Wikipedia

Dudley Young's Origin of the Sacred

The one I want to murder has something that is mine (or that I absolutely intend to make mine) and the obvious way to achieve this is to incorporate him, enfold him in my arms and hug him "to death" in a closure of the visible. Thus the call-sign of the murderer is, as Othello said, "Put out the light," and its primitive conclusion is cannibalism. Mutilation, on the contrary, is only interested in the mutilated body as a vehicle for divine epiphany, which as the word suggests, is what appears between the mutilated flesh and the eye that beholds it....

There is some evidence for this conjecture from what we know of ritual cannibalism where the body is first mutilated, then incorporated. In Polynesia Captain Cook witnessed a human sacrifice that ended with the victim's left eye being presented to the lips of the king....

Thus concludes the argument that began... with my assertion that the mutilating cruelty that opens our eyes to the monstrous epiphanies of the sacrificial divinity is properly canceled, preserved, and redemptively transformed in the elaboration of a harness for the our sacrificial instincts, not in some rationalist attempt to close the door on them; and moreover that the harness is to be sought within those instincts, and not elsewhere.

The woman at the Memory Center:

You mother told me she has a nickname for you...