“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 deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”
I’ve always been a great fan of Lovecraft. I devoured all his stories when I was a teenager; in an age when teens typically rebel against authority and society I funneled all my natural anger on his world. I even wrote my high school thesis based on Lovecraft universe. So I’m a lovecraftian fan, but not your typical kind of fan though. No, I’m not an adept that prays for the return of Cthulhu from the depth of R’lyeh. Don’t worry. More like a scholar maybe. I love his way of looking at the universe, I love the hopeless cosmocentric phylosophy behind it. I agree with most of his statements regarding humanity, our place in the universe, the brutality of the cosmos itself, the non-sensical existence that we are experiencing with our lives. When you read and understand the deep implications of Lovecraft’s world you realise how stupid our everyday discussions, fears and anxieties are compared to the great horrors that lurk in the deep swathes of space. The only way is madness, says Lovecraft. Yes, I believe if we were able to get the very fabric of the universe our brains won’t be able to cope with it and madness will haunt us until our death. That’s why I think only the machines will be able to understand the universe, luckily they can’t get mad.
In a way I consider Lovecraft very similar to Epicurus: gods exist but don’t be bothered by them because they don’t interact with us. If you get too involved with their world you lose your sanity. Hence the only way for happyness in life is to live your ordinary life without peeking at the slightly open door. Don’t open that door and you will be happy. Ignorance is truly bliss. Sure Lovecraft didn’t believe in any god but his pantheon was more like a visual representations of the horrors of the cosmos and existence. A physics horror embodied in monsters of unimmaginable power and brutality. And by the way Cthulhu was not a god in any of the senses we consider a divine being. It was more lke an alien with such powers that could destroy entire worlds.
So yes, I consider myself a lovecraftian epicurean if that means that the universe is not by any chance anthropocentric, our existence useless and the aeons and spaces out there are impossible to grasp with a human mind.
Why am I talking about this then? The thing is I now got in my hands the omnibus volume of Lovecraft work in an english edition. I would like to read it again after so many years, now that I’m an adult, now that I experienced the truth of his teachings. And I’m scared and I can’t open it because I don’t know if I’m going to ruin all the magic that was dwelling in my mind since I was 15. I’m worried of ruining it and finding out that his writing wasn’t that good or his stories weren’t that original. What if his books must be read at a certain age only? I’m not saying that Lovecraft stories are for children, what I’m saying is that the fascination for the dark, gothic and horrors might not be the same for me after 20 years. And I’ll be disappointed. And he will fall down from my personal pantheon of writers. Maybe I shouldn’t do like the protagonists of his stories: tempted by dark knowledge they peered on an ancient book and they lost their mind. Maybe I should stay blissfully ignorant and keep the magic like it is.