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steve

Lovecraft Country

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Hm, the Daoist cosmos I'm aware of seems quite orderly and, even if they are maybe not the center of the universe, humans have a cosmic role to play.

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3 hours ago, RobB said:

 

So, Cthulhu is the Dao? Excellent! 

 

More like hundun.

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The Lovecraft mythos capture perfectly the modern times for me. It seems to be a blend of modern scientific materialism and consumerist materialism. The idea of a blind, godless universe ruled by demonic forces that are hostile to mankind, and humanity itself seeking to bring these destructive forces to manifestation is not unlike our own drive to consume the planet and destroy ourselves. The central figure here is not a kind, benevolent creator deity but a deaf, dumb, blind god of randomness.  Truly, the only sane approach in such a world is madness.

 

Similarly, institutional and systematic racism as is as senseless as it is intertwined with American culture. "Othering" seems to be so fundamental to humanity, given how widespread and popular it is (racism, sexism, ableism, anti-LGBTQ, colorism, etc. the list is endless. Like Lovecraft's cults, it is a deeply embedded part of our existence, it is very self destructive, and it should drive us mad. 

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One very admirable thing about the Cthulhu Mythos, which maybe gets overlooked, is its collaborative character. Lovecraft welcomed and encouraged his various writer-friends (e.g. Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E Howard) to freely borrow from his mythos, add to it, and reshape it. He returned the compliment by including their monsters in his stories (e.g. Smith's Tsatthogua.) So the Cthulhu Mythos is a collective mythos, an open game of creation.

 

Nowadays much of what is questionably termed "popular culture" consists of material trademarked by a handful of massive corporations, jealously and tenaciously policed by "intellectual property" lawyers. Apart from that, there are also more or less rigid ideas of "canon" which ensure countless contibutions, however brilliant, can never rise above the lowly realms of "fanfic". There's no trademark on Cthulhu or Yog Sothoth. There is no canon. Take what you like, leave what you don't, do what you want with it. I think we really need that kind of openness today.

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