Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in 1890, and became one of the legends of 20th. Century Horror literature. Like his hero, Edgar Allen Poe, who preceded him, Lovecraft’s shadow on the world of horror is undeniable.
Lovecraft’s weird tales focus upon a fearful hidden cult that worships ancient and forgotten gods of such perverse anger and abstract terror. The mere mention of these foul, primeval beings, often brings insanity to those that dare to investigate their existence.
Perhaps, Lovecraft’s most famous creation is Cthulhu – a foul slumbering beast with a face of octopus tentacles, imprisoned within the icy walls of the subterranean city of R’lyeh. Yet, he is but one in a pantheon of godly menaces, that includes such diabolical horrors as Yog Sothoth, Nyarlathotep and Azathoth.
The existence of these gods is spoken of only in the whispers of the insane, who have discovered information from rare antique grimoires, housed in the great academic libraries across the world. The most dangerous of these texts is the Necronomicon, written by the mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred.
Lovecraft’s macabre tales, often set in New England, are rich in detail and lineage. As a teenager, I was fascinated by the people and creatures that filled the pages of his short stories and novellas. Reading his work, filled me with a trepidation and dread that something true and dangerous was being revealed. It comes as no surprise that the occult themes in his tales have drawn the attention of some occultists, who view his fictions to be true; something that is rather bizarre, since Lovecraft was an outspoken atheist.
I believe that his stories are rather a very real response to the onslaught of modern society and technology upon his conscience; a social transformation that clashed horribly with his romantic ideals for a bygone era.
However, unlike the worlds of other authors of imagination, Lovecraft’s vision is one that very few of us would wish to have any basis in reality. It is a terrifying universe, where everything that humanity assumes to be true is not, and where cosmic horrors lurk within the darkest corners of the world and in the distant dimensions of space, waiting through millennia for the conditions to be right for their return.
Lovecraft has been criticised for using overly wordy prose and continual repetition of uncommon adjectives, such as eldritch, cyclopean and squamous. For those that do become initiated, this flowery wordiness is part of Lovecraft’s charm.
While he fails to construct fully rounded characters, especially female characters, the unique sense of dread that permeates throughout all his tales makes up for this.
No one writes quite like Lovecraft; even those who continued to add to the Cthulhu Mythos after his death in 1937, such as August Derleth, Robert Bloch, Ramsey Campbell and even Stephen King. They try to imitate his style, but fail to capture the snootiness that was so characteristic of him.
During his lifetime, Lovecraft struggled financially, supporting himself by selling stories to the legendary Weird Tales Magazine, as well as working as a freelance copywriter and re-writer. His fame really developed after his death, generating a cult comparable only to Tolkien. Many movies have been based on his stories, but none have managed to capture the underlying cosmic tone and intellectual distrust for truths passed down through convention. Certainly, it is about time that Hollywood produced a film worthy of his imagination.
We live in extremely dangerous times, where elementary wisdom seems to be lost. It doesn’t matter if you are religious, spiritual or atheistic. We can all agree that certain social mindsets are beneficial to the majority.
Hate, disharmony and war bring nothing positive to the human condition. They create destruction and harm that linger for decades beyond. It is only through acts of love, understanding and compassion, even to those we are conditioned to distrust, that social progress is bound to manifest. In Buddhism, it is taught that we see all sentient beings as our mothers. Only through exemplifying these qualities can we hope to lead others to see the benefits and to bring about profound, positive social changes.
This is not hokey boloney! Of course, there will always be contrasting positions and conflicts of ideology. But, how we choose to deal with such differences is up to us. The military option is not always the right option. More often than not, it exacerbates disputes and causes far greater disharmony and suffering.
We cannot rely upon our leaders to lead correctly, so we must all contribute by being positive forces for good in the world, regardless of our positions in society. We might just be a splash individually, but together we can be an ocean of change.
Britain is no longer an empire, although it likes to pretend it still is. Independently, we are nothing more than a rock in the Atlantic. The world has decided to grow much, much bigger around us. We need to be part of an effective balance to counteract, in political and economic terms, against a rising China, a blustering Russia and a potential Trump USA. Britain is stronger united with our European neighbours.
From tribes to fiefdoms to countries to a conglomeration of countries, the EU is an evolutionary stage that attempts to unify people, rather than divide. For 70 years, the blood-drenched continent has had relative peace.
I know that the EU is far from perfect, but it is a work in progress, that requires vision and intelligent stewardship to survive. Britain is positioned to positively contribute from within and try to shape the EU so that it can be more effective, powerful, inspiring, peaceful and remain an essential part of the world. To leave would be like cutting away our anchor and setting ourselves adrift, with neither a sexton nor sails to influence the direction of our future. I have no interest to set foot onboard the maniacal Captain Boris’s sea vessel, with his ragbag crew of eccentrics, like Farage and Gove.
Choose the correct option to REMAIN!
As a human rights activist, daily I am made aware of the constant chatter of bigotry and the expressions of violence that all too often occur across the globe.
We ALL have differences of culture, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender and opinion. How we respond to differences, can either be harmful or positive. Some choose to wallow in the belief that what is different cannot be understood, so it is comforting to cause harm.
However, there is an alternative. Instead of cultivating fear, when we are faced with the unfamiliar or different, it is better that we should extend our hand in friendship with all the curiosity we can muster to learn, listen and embrace difference. Instead of segregating, we should incorporate with love. Instead of fearing, we should open our minds to understanding. Instead of hating, we should demonstrate our innate potential to love all without prejudice.
Every one of us is just a brief visitor upon this beautiful planet. Let’s behave accordingly in a way that spreads happiness and love, instead of conflict and hate. IT’S ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE!
Photography & Words by El-Branden Brazil
I have travelled the world far too much, and have received the hospitality of so many kind, beautiful strangers, many of whom were Muslim, to be persuaded by the hate and ignorance of those who have never been courageous enough to step beyond their localized communities.
Fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar is soon neutralised by travel. Initially, we are dazzled by what is culturally strange and new. But soon, we are overwhelmed by the shared humanity in all we encounter.
We must lead by example, expressing love and compassion to all. Just maybe, those who hate might be inspired enough to choose a better, more peaceful way.
I am by nature what some would consider “Leftwing”. My ideological tendencies do not come from some sort of perverse Stalinist fantasy or the belief that we should live an existence under some idiotic regime, as they do in North Korea. My beliefs in human welfare have nothing whatsoever to do with such horrifically distorted visions of Socialism, where the extreme ego of one dominates the masses. Quite the opposite in every way. I simply believe in COMPASSION and OPPORTUNITY for ALL!
I believe in the potential of all to be allowed to flourish unhindered. To do this, we need higher education to be available to ALL. For reasons I do not understand, but assume is decided out of fear of having an educated population, education still remains a privilege, which is frankly ridiculous! Everyone’s intellectual potential should be allowed every opportunity to flourish. This is good for the individual, good for the community, good for the country and good for the world. I wonder how much great talent has been stunted and lost because of poverty, lack of opportunity and elitist governance?
I also believe that we must evaluate accurately those most in need, and support them fairly, whilst allowing them dignity without prejudice.
ALL of us play in a funny fantasy of money; a socially accepted system of value, where bits of paper and metal are assumed to have worth, and that you get a share of this assumed equal to the hours of labour (life time before death) you put into your work. After this, we pay taxes for services to keep society functioning, like sewage, garbage collection, road and bridge maintenance and so on… All, we hope, paying for the parts that make society comfortable, ignoring conveniently war adventurism.
We trust in our governments (or blindly follow) in paying what we are told to pay. This would be fine, if the rule book were the same for everyone. Unfortunately, as we have learned all too well, the tax system in many countries is loaded in favour of the rich, where those that have are allowed to pay the minimum, whilst those that don’t have are royally shafted!
Socialism is about a fair game for all, and yes, whilst there have been so-called “socialist experiments” that have turned into nightmares through the last century, socialism as a source of hope that ALL can get a fair chance on our tiny rock in space still remains. WE must ALL work together to provide for those that don’t have. WE must ALL fight for the the protection of workers! WE must ALL work to protect the environment! WE must ALL fight for human rights! WE must ALL fight for liberty from intolerance! WE must celebrate our differences, whilst celebrating our shared humanity! We must provide security, education, healthcare and maximise the potential of EVERY human-being!
In response to the results of unbridled capitalism, banksters, austerity, exploitation of workers and the unfair distribution of wealth, there is clearly a growing global movement that is shifting towards the left, seeking a fairer, compassionate and responsible world.
The rise of the likes of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn is testament of the zeitgeist which the elites and the traditional media are desperately trying to stop, but failing. They may attempt to misrepresent and disparage these men, but the people are waking and can see beyond these crude smear tactics. The people can see that the world has been unfairly rigged in favour of the few, and they want real change and they want it now.
There will be those who scoff at such notions, holding onto redundant social structures. But, the inevitability and necessity for change will soon become apparent, even to those whose heads remain deeply imbedded in the ground. A much better, healthier world can be created for ALL.
I have no time for beliefs in the supernatural anymore. I only believe in what is tangible and real in this moment. What lies beyond death will be what it will be at that time, but it has no relevance now, except as a pointless game of speculation.
If there is a God, then whatever it may be will be just as natural as I. A permutation of existence, all-encompassing, entirely universal, abstract and beyond the lexicon of language. God does not need to be called “God”. Likewise, I do not need to be called “I”.
We are continually faced with the inadequacy of language to encapsulate the whole without division or separation. The labels applied to things by words, blind us from seeing things as they truly are, often leading us into beliefs of delusion and fantasy. We have a tendency to fill in the gaps of our knowledge with fanciful ideas, however unproven, to comfort us.
What I am far more interested in are patterns of behaviour that transform the world we live right now. Actions based upon compassion and love, applied through a prism of wisdom, whether by a Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Pagan, Buddhist… have very real effects upon our world. These behaviours should be cultivated and encouraged, because by nature they neutralise the effects of negative activities. They inspire, comfort and increase harmony within communities. We don’t need to have faith in speculative concepts, we just need to observe the results of positive actions, such as compassion. They are apparent, without the need to believe in anything supernatural. There is no reason to believe in the unreal, when the real is so much more magical. It is simply a matter of how we wish to see; a choice of perspective.
…Truth is the manifest of reality as it truly is, not what we wish it to be.