Feb. 4th, 2017

avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
Re-reading Colin Wilson's first two "Lovecraftian" novels, and wondering what the hell I ever saw in them.

I mean, people talk about HPL's repellent views, and they're right, but if this reflected anything of what Wilson was actually thinking then he's just as bad. Only he wasn't (for his time) particularly racist. As far as I can gather from the text (and his challenge from August Derleth, having vilified HPL in an earlier book, was, I gather, to express his personal philosophy through the medium of a Lovecraft-style story) he viewed all ordinary people with much the same contempt and disgust. Because, of course, he was an intellectual. He was special.

These books express exactly the feelings I've talked about in earlier posts, here, on FB, everywhere. "We" are not ordinary people. Ordinary people have small minds, they live on an emotional level because they aren't capable of rising above their emotions and achieving true detachment, and they are bound to be superseded by the superior man who is a creature of pure reason and intellect and therefore lives in a constant state of ecstasy (which is presumably not an emotion for the purposes of this argument) and has mysterious psychic powers because he uses all his brain at once.

I mean, talk about your adolescent power fantasies. Eat your heart out, Superman. I can quite see, on reflection, why my younger, misfit bookish brat self would have gobbled this stuff up. It's all part of the immature, fans-are-slans closet elitism that pervades, not just fandom, but the whole of the so-called progressive movement. We are the future. Stand aside, old-style humans, and bow down to your new rulers who have your best interests at heart. You just got out-evolved.

The sheer arrogance of my younger self appalls me. Thank gods I got past that.

I just hit the bit in The Philosopher's Stone where the protagonist and his friend are discussing how atrocious a writer Shakespeare is, having just decided that he was actually Bacon, and how a Shakespeare play is like listening to "two queers arguing at a party." I know I baulked at that even back then. (And decided that if that was his opinion of Shakespeare's writing then his opinion of HPL's writing was probably worth about the same.)

I do notice that the main effect of the protagonists' mental advancement in both these books is to make them more and more bored and discontented with life as it is, which is presumably the "new existentialism" that Wilson was apparently into. Fortunately they manage to find solace in exploring the wonders of the universe and not bothering with mere humanity any more.

If I thought this was the way forward when I was whatever age I was, I was an idiot. That hasn't changed, but at least I'm a more experienced idiot now, and I can see the traps of hell a bit more clearly when they gape.

I may actually let these books go. I'm not decided yet.

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