What is true of one man, said the judge, is true of many. The people who once lived here are called the Anasazi. The old ones. They quit these parts, routed by drought or disease or by murdering band of marauders, quit these parts ages since and of them there is no memory. They are rumors and ghosts in this land and they are much revered. The tools, the art, the buildingthese things stand in judgement on the latter races. Yet there is nothing for them to grapple with. The old ones are gone like phantoms and the savages wander these canyons to the sound of an ancient laughter. In their crude huts they crouch in darkness and listen to the fear seeping out of the rock. All progressions from a higher to a lower order are marked by ruins and mystery and a residue of nameless rage. So. Here are the dead fathers. Their spirit is entombed in the stone. It lies upon the land with the same weight and the same ubiquity. For whoever makes a shelter of reeds and hides has joined his spirit to the common destiny of creatures and he will subside back into the primal mud with scarcely a cry. But who builds in stone seeks to alter the structure of the universe and so it was with these masons however primitive their works may seem to us.
None spoke. The judge sat half naked and sweating for the night was cool. At length the expriest Tobin looked up.
It strikes me, he said, that either son is equal in the way of disadvantage. So what is the way of raising a child?
At a young age, said the judge, they should be put in a pit with wild dogs. They should be set to puzzle out from the proper clues the one of the three doors that does not harbor wild lions. They should be made to run naked in the desert until...
Hold now, said Tobin. The question was put in all earnestness.
And the answer, said the judge. If God meant to interfere in the degeneracy of mankind, would he not have done so by now? Wolves cull themselves, man. What other creature could? And is the race of man not more predacious yet? The way of the world is to blossom and to flower and die but in the affairs of man there is no waning and the noon of his expression signals the onset of night. His spirit is exhausted at the peak of its achievement. His meridian is at once his darkening and the evening of his day. He loves games? Let him play for stakes. This you see here, these ruins wondered at by the tribes of savages, do you not think that this will be again? Aye. And again. With other people, with other sons.
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian