I have been doing a Lovecraft re-read the past few months. I have not been blogging in a while (New job, New life goals, Maybe I will share later) but I am always reading or listening to a audio book. I read nothing modern anymore (save a very select few, wink to Schuyler Hernstrom). Modern Fantasy is as vile as the modern world we live in. I spend my free time consuming the writings of long dead old white men. I am okay with this. The modern world is so consumed with trying to tear down everything that is tradition and time honored that it forgets that those very things are traditions and honored for a reason.
I was reading “The Silver Key” by H.P. Lovecraft and a certain passage struck me and has been lingering in my thoughts for the past few days.
“Carter did not taste deeply of these modern freedoms; for their cheapness and squalor sickened a spirit loving beauty alone, while his reason rebelled at the flimsy logic with which their champions tried to gild brute impulse with a sacredness stripped from the idols they had discarded. He saw that most of them, in common with their cast-off priestcraft, could not escape from the delusion that life has a meaning apart from that which men dream into it; and could not lay aside the crude notion of ethics and obligations beyond those of beauty, even when all Nature shrieked of its unconsciousness and impersonal unmorality in the light of their scientific discoveries. Warped and bigoted with preconceived illusions of justice, freedom, and consistency, they cast off the old lore and the old ways with the old beliefs; nor ever stopped to think that that lore and those ways were the sole makers of their present thoughts and judgments, and the sole guides and standards in a meaningless universe without fixed aims or stable points of reference. Having lost these artificial settings, their lives grew void of direction and dramatic interest; till at length they strove to drown their ennui in bustle and pretended usefulness, noise and excitement, barbaric display and animal sensation. When these things palled, disappointed, or grew nauseous through revulsion, they cultivated irony and bitterness, and found fault with the social order. Never could they realise that their brute foundations were as shifting and contradictory as the gods of their elders, and that the satisfaction of one moment is the bane of the next. Calm, lasting beauty comes only in dream, and this solace the world had thrown away when in its worship of the real it threw away the secrets of childhood and innocence.” – “The Silver Key” by H.P. Lovecraft. Written in 1926. First published in the January 1929 issue of Weird Tales.
Now I know this is his character (Randolf Carter) that is speaking about his modern world and how like him it has lost the ability to dream. I can’t help but think that this was also social commentary by Lovecraft on the world around him. Thank goodness he is not around now to see how much further our civilization has fallen. The passage seems to sum up the world around me I see falling further and further into a dark abyss of instant gratification and political correctness. We are de-evolving right in front of ourselves. In an age when so much information is available at our fingertips we are dumbed down to the point of the base idol worship of stupidity.
I guess my ramblings do not really have a point. But this Story has stuck with me and this rant has been in my head for days now. It is out now, So excuse me while I go back to the writings of long dead old white men.
You should try it yourselves. May I suggest some of my favorites:
Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Clark Ashton Smith, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen, to name a few.