The Object, Speaking
Criticism has been leveled at True Detective for 2-dimensional portrayals of women, children, side characters. Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker asks: how can a show that condemns the objectification of women and children so blatantly objectify women and children —
or as Marty says “what’s scented meat?”
The point is that women are objectified because True Detective’s thesis is that humans are objects; not just women — all of us are automatons, robots, sand castles —
Men looked at women and instead of looking into them and seeing their humanity, their core, their reality, the deep-seated selves that are independent, active agents worthy of dignity, saw objects, goals, the World to encounter – I and the World –
and this is what is meant by objectification of women — they are object-pawns in a desire-satisfaction game by men —
and the cruel horror of that objectification is perhaps a source of evil, though it is unclear if that is the source of evil in True Detective. What is Carcosa, is the question? Who is the Yellow King?
Rust Cohle respects women, as any ought to, as humans. Any strongly gendered & sexual human, who possesses that drive, may well be overcome by the mystification and the goal-searching of sexual-objectification to objectify the object of desire — Cohle, master of his desires, suspicious of his desires, knowing that his desires are the marionette strings that make him dance, stands above that form of objectification. He sees women as they are, which is just humans who are shaped different, with wombs instead of worms.
But, in seeing past their sexual mystiques, or their mother mystiques, daughter mystiques, Rust Cohle still necessarily objectifies these women, even as he objectifies men, even as he objectifies himself.
What does it mean to be an object?
Rust said in episode one, which is that Nature made a mistake, and a part of nature found itself seeing itself as separate from nature, and in that initial misconception, that cognitive illusion, invented the narrative of the self and, with that narrative, all that that implies — Man, God, Heaven.
But Rust, seeing that the narrative is false, cannot see men, women, or children, as true agents, as worthy subjects. Rather, they are all sentient meat. The Body must be protected, pain should be avoided, but the passing nature of our reality and the tricks, fools, lies, and mindgames we put ourselves through deprives us of the right to claim the essential dignity of being a Subject —
Though, he is softened by age, and by his death, and by his harrowing of hell, and he realizes that Man’s lack of “subject” makes us in fact coterminous with the World, which is the Great Subject, and even more so, the World is divided, and there is darkness, but there is another darkness, a warmer darkness, beneath it, and, of course, warm darkness is simply the name that the blind give to Light —
That we are not Subjects is our great redemption — A False Subject will live in madness, will create false-worlds, will act out stories, pass judgment, create narratives of its own will, and be Nature acting on Nature —
The Subjectless will see the Body as the Body, the Light as the Light, True Being, Pure Being, All Being, Bathed in Warm Darkness, and slipping in the darkness at the end of Time with nothing other than love —
Death is not the end, because the Light continues, even if our eyes can no longer see it —
The edge of awareness —
Take off your mask, Childress says, and Childress, Monster in the Dark, the Great Abyss, the Void, says that what was done to him will be done to the all the Sons and Daughter of Man — and what is Rape but Plowing, the Plowing of the Object, the Plowing of the Earth — Other Music, dischordant with the Great Song because the Singer is Deaf to It —
Looking out at the Stars. The Great Stars. Pursue them.
The answer is among the Stars. The light in the darkness.