Two Tuesday Quotes: Krakauer and McCarthy

“I think I understand that religious faith which makes the holy brave and strong; my strength is just somewhere else–it’s in myself…I do not fear what may await me, though I’m equally confident that nothing awaits.”

Jon Krakauer

“Even if what you’re working on doesn’t go anywhere, it will help you with the next thing you’re doing. Make yourself available for something to happen. Give it a shot.”

Cormac McCarthy


In 1999 Krakauer received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters-a prestigious award intended “to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment.” According to the Academy’s citation, “Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer. His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind.” [Source]


McCarthy has no reason to apologize for these dark themes. In a rare interview with the New York Times, he seemingly rejects not only the possibility for harmonious living, but also the idea that human beings can seek to change their aggressive instincts: “There is no such thing as life without bloodshed. The notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is really a dangerous idea. Those who are afflicted with this notion are the first ones to give up their souls, their freedom. Your desire that it be that way will enslave you and make your life vacuous” (New York Times Magazine, 1992). Accepting that people have their faults, that is, points us away from unachievable utopian ideals and leaves us free to be ourselves as we really are. [Source]


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