Cosmic Indifference Or Ambiguous Relationship?

In Lovecraft’s cosmicism perhaps the most disturbing idea is that “human beings are often subject to powerful beings and other cosmic forces, but these forces are not so much malevolent as they are indifferent toward humanity (Price, “Lovecraft’s ‘Artificial Mythology’)“.

This is quite the opposite of what most Western and Eastern mythology tell us. We know endless stories about the close relationship between gods, angels or mythical beings with men. The idea that the spiritual realm relates to humankind lies at the core of most religions.

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However the „cosmic indifference“ isn’t necessarily the most important quality of the mythological entities described in H.P. Lovecraft’s stories. As he already said in „Supernatural horror“(„that most terrible conception of the human brain–a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature“) he later repeats: „The “punch” of a truly weird tale is simply some violation or transcending of fixed cosmic law—an imaginative escape from palling reality—hence phenomena rather than persons are the logical “heroes.” Horrors, I believe, should be original—-The use of common myths and legends being a weakening influence“.

Maybe this was again something HPL said about writing techniques but if we think about it for a moment we could say, rather than mere „indifferent mythical beings“ the greatest imaginable horror lies in something, which is entirely non-human and has supernatural capabilities beyond our imagination.

We may ask if it’s always necessarily to make a distinction between either something, which relates to humans or some abstract force, which is indifferent.

Humans have a strong tendency to „humanize“ everything. Even if we imagine hostile alien-invaders in the movies there is always something very human about them: The invaders appear usually like some sort of well-organized army even they should have an insectoid appearance. Most of our monsters in stories and movies are like mirror images and have a strong psychological implication. Often they represent some sort of the „hero’s shadow“.

We „humanize“ things even more in real life – in former times weather phenomena were often described like living entities in folk tales. Obviously this made life for our ancestors more comfortable.

These romantic views seemed not any longer appropriate in the age of science. There was no longer a place for idealism. Obviously Lovecraft was deeply impressed by the materialism of his time. However his „phenomenas“ are still living beings. It’s only a complete different form of life. It might be indifferent but we could ask if this must be necessarily the case. Maybe our mythological traditions are not entirely wrong.

Indeed there is reason to believe that there is not only a strong relationship between man and the inhabitants of the Otherworld, there is a somehow a deep connection. The endless accounts of visionary encounters as UFO-sightings or the interaction with the fairy realm suggest that there are strong ties between mankind and spiritual beings for a very long time.

Materialism failed to proof the non-existence of a living universe. Our history suggests the opposite. The question is if we draw the right conclusions. Any higher intelligence might communicate in a complete different way – maybe the use of images is an important factor. Furthermore it seems that we meet and we communicate with otherworldly entities not in our realm but in ways, which haven’t yet understood. Many reports suggest that the human brain works as a transmitter or a radio able to receive messages from other realms. What we need to understand is that we also get often deceived in many ways. Anyone who in our understanding belongs to a supernatural or extraterrestial realm might be able to deceive us in the most complex ways. In our computer age WE have learned to develop complex virtual realities – why shouldn’t otherworldly agencies use these techniques already for a long time? We do not know what or if we mean something to them, but it seems we are not alone.

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Nevertheless this is not really a satisfying answer if there are cosmic forces, which are indifferent to human beings or if these forces relate somehow to us. Maybe there is some sort of ambiguity here. In Algernoon Blackwood’s “The Willows”, one of the most intense supernatural stories, which Lovecraft admired, this seems to be the case. Two tourists on a trip on the Danube enter into some wasteland and twilight zone where supernatural entities reside. Indeed these forces seem indifferent during the first encounter but later they endanger the lives of the two travelers. In the next morning one of them sees a floating body and says that “they” must have found another victim. If we enter the realm of the otherworld we might not get away easily. It seems there is an ambiguous relationship between us and the otherworldly forces.  In that case the two travelers obviously came into contact with the “genius loci”, the spirit of place.  The concept of the “genius loci” is perhaps a good model to illustrate an ambiguous relationship. Originally in the roman sense a protecting spirit the term developed different meanings later and can be seen as some kind of influence at a certain place.  Cosmic forces are here. They can be indifferent to humankind but not necessarily. They don’t rule our lives in the way we usually think but they are shaping and manipulating history and personal lives in a hidden way.

In my movie project I deal both with the spirit of place as a powerful cosmic force and the experiences of hidden influences on our everyday lives which can’t be measured easily but exist as a constant radiation.

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