Monthly Archives: July 2014

Origins of Lovecraft’s Cosmic Pessimism

Theories abound about the origins of Lovecraft’s cosmic pessimism. One of them sees Lovecraft’s philosophy as wholly negative and appropriates a kind of language of blame, i.e., it assigns Lovecraft’s “depressing” views to unfortunate events in his “twisted, unhappy” childhood. I don’t think this is an accurate view, and I think that there is very little mystery about the origins of Lovecraft’s belief system.

H.P. Lovecraft was a staunch atheist from about the age of six onward, if not earlier, and a bit later he became just as staunch a materialist and science enthusiast. The “Death of God” came early for Lovecraft, and like millions of other modern people, he had his own reaction to it.

His first reaction was a sense of joy and freedom. Joy in the freedom from what he considered deep superstition and mainstream society’s insane over-valuation of the worth of the world and the human species.

His second reaction was a sense of Cosmicism – i.e., the sober consideration of the (probable) infinity of the non-human universe, unconscious of, and unconcerned with, ephemera such as humankind. Quite understandably, Lovecraft’s fiction reflects this conviction – which he saw as borne out by current science knowledge – of Man’s insignificance in the cosmos.

His third reaction was a sense of oppression, of being trapped in time and space, with the Weird Tale being his only means of escape from the matter that bound him. And I would venture the guess that almost all of us at one time or another – both believer and unbeliever alike – do experience a particularly human sense of alienation from the Cosmos-at-large: so Lovecraft was by no means alone in this feeling. But unlike most of us, he acted on it and expressed it in literature, letters, the Weird Tale, and poetry.

His fourth reaction was an attitude of rebellion against these spacetime constraints. His rebellion did not take the form of religion (which seeks to change perceived cosmic underpinnings from Indifferent to Caring), but in a stark atheistic materialism which seized on the apparently bleak reality revealed by physics and evolutionary theory – an atheism that attacked comforting religious ideas and formulated a Man-unfriendly, anti-religious cosmology and created a unique kind of literary pantheon and Anti-Myth mythos.

In all of the above, Lovecraft was only being human, and being true to his own authentic reactions to the new picture of anĀ  indifferent cosmos that was being revealed by biology and physics. Therefore, caution must be exercised in order to avoid putting too much influence on HPL’s “formative years” – his odd, miserable childhood, his absent, young-dying father, his sickly, anxiety-ridden and in later years mentally ill mother, etc. – in an attempt to portray his later adult views as somehow odd or morbid, because derived from his “unhappy childhood”. His adult views, on the contrary, are largely derived from his intellect and scientific knowledge, and not from (the supposed) cryptic horrors of his childhood and youth. It would be better to let HPL speak for himself – as he surely does in his hundreds of voluminous letters and essays.

More on Cosmicism can be found here:


Vale the Golden Age

Ufology’s Golden Age has passed.

With the advent of extremely, increasingly “magical”military and “secret ops” technology, a “real” UFO has virtually become indistinguishable from a piece of sophisticated military-industrial aerial hardware.

A last-ditch effort to “keep the distinction distinct” is the attempt at classifying the true UFO (a real “Unknown” as contrasted with our most developed known technologies) as against Trickster Hardware. This fairly recent work of classification considers the UAV to be an Unidentified Aerial Vehicle and considers the UAP to be the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. The categories are self-explanatory. Although the “Phenomenon” is, like the God of the Gaps, ever-shrinking – a kind of ufological endangered species – a slim hope of new, non-ordinary data accumulation still does linger.

In addition to hardware, of course, there is the new sophistication of digital imaging in which virtually any image may be created or manipulated in order to create a picture whose limits are only those of its creator’s imagination. Thus, a photograph that would have been considered evidential in, say, 1958, today would have to pass through a series of stringent digital critiques, with of course the usual “witness reliability” provisos in place, with no certainty of authenticity being firmly established.

Therefore, it seems that the Golden Age of the UFOs is long gone. It would seem that whatever intelligence may lurk behind the phenomenon and its related phenomena will probably be the only true source of future data and disclosure. If, that is, that presumed sentiency decides to make the first move.

Hence, genuine, serious Ufology will probably become mostly a refinement of historical studies. An informal time period for study might be provisionally marked from the Foo Fighters and Ghost Rockets of the Second World War era, on through (about) 1977 or so, with the advent of the “Triangles”, which (the reports suggest to the present writer) are all too humanly technological. A stretch of some 35 years, or thereabouts. Project Sign, Project Grudge, Project Bluebook, the five major Ufological studies listed by Stanton Friedman (best of luck to him with his recent health setback), the Sturrock Panel report, the work of Dr.s Hynek, Vallee and James E. McDonald, all the compendia of sightings gathered by any number of responsible UFO organizations, and Leslie Kean’s recent work documenting “reponsible, trained observer” reports … all of these and more consist of the only remaining “Ufological gold mine” of which I am aware.

The phenomenon is real, complex, profound, absurd, inspiring, terrifying, bashful, bold, enigmatic, maddening, occult, shocking and confusing all at once. The data reflects this, but the data does exist and is available to investigators and researchers, even if governmental barriers remain in their traditional placement. This is what the Ufologist is left with: the youthful ghost of a phenomenon that is probably continuing with all the robustness it always has, but is being occluded by human technological advances.

Vale, Golden Age.