The most merciful thing in the world

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age” (Howard Phillips Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu).

This statement of Howard Phillip Lovecraft in his novel “The Call of Cthulhu”, which was written in 1926, sets the unusual tone of this influential piece in literature. The fragmentary style of the following narrative could maybe described as pseudo-documentary as if the story was based on fact. If you want you can say the honorable Lovecraft invented “mockumentary” style decades before it became a trend in the so-called “found-coverage-movies” many years later. However the important aspect is the feeling that it sounds like as something here is ‘remembered’, which isn’t just pure fiction. There must be something which sounds true to readers, how else could we explain the huge reception of Lovecraft’s novels.

Sometimes, the truth is not out there, it may rest already inside us as the collective memory about eons long gone by when not men but something else, something unimaginable, ruled this world.

But what about Lovecraft’s prophecy? The preamble of “Call Of Cthulhu” sounds like a serious warning. If only we could put together the pieces of the puzzle and would see what’s really going on we might become crazy immediately, he says.  In other words: We don’t know what will happen if we overcome the protection mechanism, which I have also described in Aldous Huxley’s reduction filter.

Huge efforts have been made to understand our universe, for example the CERN accelerator in Switzerland unravels the tiniest secrets of matter and space telescopes like “Planck” paint the image of the universe.

However we haven’t been able to put together the pieces of the puzzle so far. Furthermore the final revelation might not come by looking through the microscope.  It might come when we begin to remember and putting together our scientific discoveries with all the other insights mankind collected over thousands of years. We do not know what will happen then. It might be the invention of the worldwideweb, which could finally help to put all the pieces together, and we can’t say if this will lead to a new age of enlightenment or another “dark age”. There are no guarantees since with all the knowledge we have gathered till today we don’t seem to feel more “safe”.

Maybe some people already know the truth.  Lovecraft also recites Algernoon Blackwood, another great master of the supernatural, in “The Call of Cthulhu” who says that poetry and legend alone have caught a “flying memory”:

“Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival… a survival of a hugely remote period when… consciousness was manifested, perhaps, in shapes and forms long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity… forms of which poetry and legend alone have caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds..”. – Algernon Blackwood

This is also what The Forest Dark Feature Film Project is about: the hidden truth, which we can only catch in glimpses and the truth we fear.

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4 Replies to “The most merciful thing in the world”

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