A Short (80 year old -?-) Movie Looked At.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (or HP Lovecraft) is one of my favorite writers, even though he and I would be light years apart philosophically. Now to be perfectly frank, Lovecraft wasn't firing on all cylinders. He had problems and they frequently manifested themselves in his dreams (he had frequent nightmares) and guess what he used as source materials for his stories. His nightmares were the source of many of his stories.
The story I want to talk about and link to a short animated movie of is The Other Gods which he published in 1933 but had written almost 12 years earlier, in 1921. (The link leads to an online text of the story, which is very short - about 3 or 4 pages in a book - and only takes a couple of minutes to read.) What is curious is that the movie was made after Lovecraft wrote the story but almost a decade before it was published. I am not 100% convinced that this movie is what it purports to be: it is valid in artistic technique and cinematic technology of the time, but I'm not certain that Lovecraft had his pantheon fully developed by that time but it could well be on the up and up.
While most of Lovecraft's better known material was horror, this story is more along the lines of the fantasy genre. The story is of a priest, Barzai the Wise, who discovered where he could personally encounter his gods, found them to be weak and capable of being overcome by a mortal, but they were protected by the Gods of the Outer Hells, whom he called the Other Gods, who punished him for his comeuppance.
The story is really pretty lame but I think Lovecraft is really telling another story within this story.
His gods symbolized Cosmic principles rather than actual deities. In fact many of them were blind and mindless (making them out to not be gods at all but mere facts of reality and forces of nature.)
Yog Sothoth dwells outside of the universe and seems to be associated with knowledge that no one benefits from. He seems to be symbolic of knowledge that can only destroy.
Shub Nigurath is a perverse fertility goddess who produces life without thought or reason. She represents how Lovecraft saw biological life, a random product of the universe that exists for no purpose.
Nyarlathotep is a personification of the universe. The universe that has no use for or concern for humanity.
Azathoth is the creator and ruler of the universe. He is blind, mindless and uncaring. A true personafication of the universe without a God.
Some say that one should not look at their gods too closely, especially those who really don't believe in them but wish for them to exist. Barzai the Wise from The Other Gods chose to look closely at his gods and found them easy to overcome - - ie they weren't truly gods at all and he viewed them in contempt, but the universe, robbed of its gods, came rushing in with the mind shattering reality of what the lack of gods truly meant. As Barzai, deprived of his gods, was left at the mercy of the Outer Gods, so humanity, deprived of his gods, is left at the mercy of a cold uncaring universe that will ultimately destroy us.
The above is quote from Lovecraft's poem The Fungi From Yuggoth
While I enjoy Lovecraft's writings, I strongly disagree with his worldview. I believe that God exists and that He created life in general and man in particular for a reason and that our existence and history are headed toward a climax and that every good and bad thing that has happened will move us toward that purpose. I do not believe we are alone against a cold and uncaring universe. Lovecraft died alone in a universe that had no meaning. He believed he was doomed from birth, humanity was doomed, life on earth was doomed, the universe was doomed. He lived and died utterly without hope.
Can man survive if we collectively have such a mindset. He may have been an atheist, but he was an honest atheist who admitted the consequences of his beliefs. I believe it may have contributed to his marginal sanity. Even he viewed such knowledge as dangerous to sanity as he wrote in the introductory paragraph to one his greatest stories The Call of Cthulhu
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.
He had a great mind, great imagination, and great ability. It is sad that he died without knowing true hope.
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me shall live even if he dies. John 11: 25