Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Ancient Kind.

(The following is a sketch of a mythos or cosmology modelled after HP Lovecraft and John Keel. This mythos is designed to form the background to an exciting series of novels or short stories which will almost certainly never materialize.)

The weird tales of H.P. Lovecraft and his many descendents share one common assumption: that this world is perpetually threatened by the intrusion of a race of unfathomably ancient and utterly malignant entities. Further to this, it is common in Lovecraft for these entities to communicate their presence to mankind via dreams, with the sensitive or artistic type being particularly susceptible to these nocturnal transmissions from the Elder Gods. Lovecraft himself regarded his tales as no more than an extravagant entertainment, and supposed his creations to possess no relationship to reality whatsoever. The truth, however, was right before his eyes: he was himself one of those sensitive, artistic types whose subconscious mind had received vague outlines, intimations, of the true order of things, and the sickening reality which underpins our limited vantage point. The massive influence and popularity of Lovecraft, which today utterly eclipses that of Poe, is a testament to the essential reality underlying his dark fables of cosmic horror. The human race is perpetually threatened by an elder sentience which announces itself in our dreams, and constantly seeks to establish a foothold in our reality. Of this elder sentience, we might say that the moralist or theologian has labelled it evil, and the scientist entropy; the initiated, however, know this threat as the Ancient Kind, for it has haunted this world since its inception, and is older by far than the universe itself.
In order to understand the Ancient Kind, we must first briefly discuss the history and constitution of the universe. Throughout history, the most common assumption with regard to the constitution of the universe has been that it is composed of solid bodies and objects, which are in turn composed of more minute solid bodies, or basic, primary constituents of matter. Against this, there is the perspective, evident in certain schools of Platonism and eastern philosophy, and expressed most notoriously in the west by Bishop Berkley, which suggests that the constitution of the universe is more akin to the incorporeal phantasmagoria of consciousness: that the universe is a thought that thinks itself, and the qualities of corporality and solidity are merely illusionary by-products of the human perceptual apparatus.
It should be noted that the once exotic heresy of idealism is slowly coming to represent the view of the mainstream scientific community. The quantum physicist observes a world not of things smoothly demarcated in terms of their relative position and velocity, but rather a protean sea of ghostly entities in a maddening gyre of probability. In the words of the great Buckminster Fuller, “Everything you learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There is not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no substances. There are no straight lines.”
Attend to the epochal sentiment of Sir John Jeans: “The stream of human knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality. The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of this realm.”
In reality, the universe in its infancy was very much akin to the subatomic world which the quantum physicist explores. It was a chaotic entity of infinite potentiality and disorder; an endlessly pliable material, wholly undifferentiated, formless, and disorganised. This the ancients understood as primal chaos, and they, aided by the nefarious telepathy of the Ancient Kind, invented a plethora of deities to bring this morass to order. In reality, the organising principle of the universe has always been via the intellection and self-awareness of a perceiving agent. The universe organises itself by creating separate, self-conscious entities whose specific perceptual tools serve to freeze a set of particular potential forms out of the infinite probabilities inherent, although unfixed, in the primary matter of the universe. The process by which the universe develops these perceiving and organising organs is that which our science understands crudely as evolution.
In this sense, we can think of our universe as a photograph taken of a crowded scene. The frozen, captured instant remains the totality of our perspective, while in reality, the scene changes from the very instant the image has been captured. The important thing to note is that our brains, in a very vital sense, create reality, by imposing a specific perspective on the unlimited, undifferentiated material of the universe. The process by which brains create reality is twofold. Firstly, brains structure reality loosely by means of unconscious telepathic transmission of impressions. Secondly, they do so in an external, communal sense, via verbal communication, exchange of ideas, and the gradual development of ideological consensus.
Reality, or the solid, material matrix in which minds interact, is created by a community of believers. But it is always the belief itself which engenders the quantity believed in. It is the theory which retrogressively alters the matrix, and engenders its own confirmatory evidence. If you go looking for the confirmation of a deeply held personal belief, be it the theory of evolution, the existence of an all-powerful Illuminati cabal, or the benevolence of the Holy Spirit, you will always find the evidence the belief requires. This is why there is no consensus among human beings, and the field of belief systems remains so wide. The intuition of magicians is correct: the material of reality is fluid, and responsive to varying degrees to beliefs which are imposed upon it by the will. We have a solid, communal reality by virtue of the fact that the majority of brains share a specific worldview; but that reality is subject to fluctuations and anomalies because that consensus is not absolute, and other beliefs briefly manifest themselves within the matrix.
The purpose, or natural tendency, of the universe in organising itself in this fashion is to reach ever higher degrees of complexity, organisation, and self-awareness. It is thus a mammoth, epochal act of creation, whose natural consummation is the realization of itself as an act of creation, with itself as the creator. At this point, it will most likely commence in the creation of other universes. There is a multiplicity of differing universes. Some have acquired the principle of organisation by virtue of another universe, having reached both the highest stage of its development and the end of its natural life cycle, seeding an infantile universe with scattered fragments of itself. The fragments will once again organise themselves, guided by a faint memory of their former state. Other universes have created their own infantile and developmental stages, by means of a reverse causality, and exist in an infinite cycle of creation and destruction similar to that intuited by Hindu cosmologists.
Certain universes, however, do not follow this path of organisation and development. The Ancient Kind hail from what might be labelled a degenerate universe: a cosmos which has remained in an infantile, unregenerate state, and seeks to spread itself like a virus through the developing universes. Their purpose is to divide, subjugate, and control the individual cells of universes, and ultimately create copies of themselves.

Continued shortly.

1 comment:

michael garrett said...

I was introduced to the writings of Poe at a very early age. My good fortune was the result of a father who found it pleasurable to maintain his own library within the confines of the house where I was raised. As long as I was responsible with the books, they were mine to read and in fact I was encouraged to read them whenever I wished. Among the volumes of books, in addition to the works of Poe, were the works of Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, Washington Irving, and Charles Dickens to name just a few that I found interesting and that stimulated a young boy's imagination. But curiously, perhaps, there was no Lovecraft in the library.

I was eventually introduced to Lovecraft by friends who passed around softbound versions from one to another to read. Somehow the group participation seemed to enhance the entirety of the experience and lent a real air of excitement when we would gather together to discuss the stories and I've always felt fortunate to have been introduced to Lovecraft in that manner.