The Implicate Order
He would hold up this cylinder,and show you the dots. Then he would spin the cylinder and the dots would disappear. And he would say, there is order here but you can't see it. And then a few seconds later the dots would appear again in sequence. That is implicate order.
I came back home from "No Country for Old Men" last night very aware of the home that I live in - the life that I have been living.
I bought my father a copy of Cormac McCarthy's other book (he has a few, all of which are probably very good - I have read "The Road" and now only seen "No Country for Old Men") - called "The Road".
It was a christmas gift, sent late. And it was never given to him. My step brother gave him the same book for christmas and he read it and enjoyed it. I asked him if he'd already read it and he gave me a blank look. We found the book with the rest of the presents that had not been given from me and my family that year.
I was very proud however that we found it but for some reason my father's blank look continued that day and then later I found the book torn to bits by the dog. It was a detached look that he sometimes gets - my father is an avid reader - it let me know that one way or another , he really liked the book but he was slightly annoyed that I had given it to him late. Sometimes when we really want someting, we become keen about all the details. Things become clear.
So I remember the way the book looked. Torn.
A few nights ago, one of my kids came home with one of his friends having borrowed his library book. I asked if he'd gotten it back and he said that his friend had said to him that he would get his book back if he gave him some candy. I got the kids in the car at that instant and drove over to the kid's home. His mother met me at the door. I asked politely if she had seen a library book. She had not and at the door the little one - who had been having trouble with the alphabet song (he's a kindergartener that rides the bus with my son) - sang the alphabet. He and I had been working on it. And I mentioned to his mother in quiet what had been said while they took off looking for the book. We got a clarification from the little boy.
He's bright, but very inclined to take things apart. He's not doing well in school - he's kind of unable to focus for a long time. He has speech impediments that make him want to skip the first of two consonants put together.
My son likes him. Every time he comes over something gets broken. I have learned to be aware and I made the decision that either I would isolate my son from this boy or simply help him along. So I chose to help.
But there was no question of what I was going to do when I heard the deal. There are things like that, I suppose in all of us. Things that can be done. Or said. That will have an immediate impact on us.
They are there. We can't see them. But they are there. And like David Bohm's implicate order - they also have a sequence to them. A sequence of ideas, or thoughts - or events. Triggers.
I have been thinking and writing for a while about the trigger sequence that occurs between a man and a woman. But one of the reasons I really like Cormac McCarthy - and perhaps also the message my father picked up - is that McCarthy isn't really interested in sex. For Cormac, there are things that a man will do with his life first before he will get laid. Almost as if getting laid falls out from being an alpha male. Thats likely the way it is.
In the last scenes of "No Country for Old Men" there is a woman by a poolside - the only reference to sex in the entire movie. She calls over the protagonist to visit her and have a beer. The only other time he had a beer was when he had tried to walk into the border of mexico and used it for a cover. And the protagonist is at an Inn , in El Paso, where he knows he will likely meet a murderer.
I have enough respect for anyone who hasn't yet seen the film to avoid piecing together the ending of "No Country for Old Men". But I will say thats about as far as it goes for sex and beer and all of that shit. A brief flash of a girl by a pool with two beers sitting next to her calling out to the protagonist "I have more beer in my room, come have one with me". "I'm married" (shows his ring)
"Well you can come over here and have a beer with me, sportsman (the guy is carrying his sawed off shottie in a riflebag) and stay married ". ... "No man, because I know what happens. One beer means another beer" ... and then she smiles and sets the beers out next to her by the pool.
Last night was a night like that for me. For the first time in 15 years of marriage I was alone, didn't have the kids around or the wife. Actually my wife isn't even in the country.
I went to go see a movie that I had wanted to see for a long, long time. Almost every beautiful girl can attract a man if she wants. But I live by a code. And I coldly realized that I am more like the antagonist of the film - than the protagonist. I am the one who would sew up his own wound if he had to. Who would singlemindedly pursue something or someone until I have found them.
We all want to identify with the good guy. I never chose, in the end, to be a bad guy. But if I am. Then I had better get my life in order. I noticed quietly that the bad guy has more work to do. And he has to run - everywhere he goes. He has to be wary of anything and anyone. But he also has to be clear enough to let the fear dissolve and get the work done.
In the film the message is pretty clear. Unsettling. Its a coen brothers film - the best that they have ever done. If you remember "Fargo", there is a connection. But it is distinct. And for you to figure out.
I have always loved the relationship between the two characters in the other Coen Brothers film "Raising Arizona". It was slightly kinky, but definitely understood. They knew they were the right people for each other from the day they had met each other. And there were alot of people who were going to disagree with them. He was a convict. She was a police officer. Her name was Ed.
All they wanted was a baby. So they stole one.
In "No Country" the same sort of relationship exists. Another of the final scenes shows his wife - we are never told explicitly that the main character dies - thinking of her own husband. The bad guy tells her that he must keep his promise, and kill her. We are there in the room with a man who is going to murder a woman. He offers her a coin toss. And she says "No. It doesn't matter. You will decide. Its not the coin"
And then he quietly informs her that her husband precipitated her death because he could have ended it all when he gave him an option to simply give up. And he didn't. She disagrees with him, saying that her husband was better than that.
And again, in respect of one of my favorite Authors, I can look away at this point and leave out details. You will have to figure out for yourself if what the evil guy says is true or not. Or even whether or not she lives. Thats your thing.
My thing is that in all of this there seems to be an order to the events. One that we can't see, that drives us onward to fate. But what is really interesting about this, is also the same thing behind that glycerine cylinder demonstration. A simple spin of the cylinder clockwise. Or counterclockwise. Gives the same result. Like a circle. It doesn't matter which way you rotate it, its spin invariant. It will be the same.
What is great about it is that there are some parts of it, still that we can change. Things that we can do to make things right. We need to keep focus. We don't have to be evil.
But in the end. This is America in the 21st century. Maybe it will take a little bit of luck. But the thing I hope you take away from it all is that you need to keep your focus and get what you need, done. Done.
The dots have spin into strands so thin you can't see them. The rings circle in the the clear liquid. They will reappear and when they do they will be in the same order as they were before.
And then everyone gets hit by a giant gleaming Peterbilt. The end.