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Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2019 07:33PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Knygatin, your kindly reply moves me to apologize
> for some overbearing manners earlier in this
> thread. It's one thing to try to keep a focus on
> Machen's Hieroglyphics and ideas underlying it,
> another for me to be a bit schoolmarmish about
> digressions from it.
>
> As for your final paragraph -- I have quite a bit
> of sympathy with your antipathy to woke-ism.
> Somehow you brought a poem to my mind. It's by
> the late Kingsley Amis, writing years ago. It
> uses a word I try to avoid myself. One might
> read, first the Walter de la Mare poem that Amis
> must have had in mind.
>
> [firstknownwhenlost.blogspot.com]
> ok-thy-last-on-all-things-lovely.html
>
> [www.johnderbyshire.com]
> l
>
> I also agree with your dismay about
> paedo-transgenderism or even the adult version.
> I'm replying to you here since you commented here,
> but I regard the topic, for myself, as closed
> hereafter on this thread.
>
> Having said that: I believe that the case for
> reading literature should be made primarily on the
> basis of its own inherent value. Too often people
> try to justify it on utilitarian grounds (e.g. it
> will help you to be a "well-rounded person," it
> will help you to develop "critical thinking,"
> etc.). But -- but -- ! Having said that, I want
> to say that I am grateful for a benefit thereof,
> extrinsic if you like, and that is the degree of
> freedom it can give you from your own time. It is
> a great good, that ability (which I possess only a
> very little) to stand outside one's own time. And
> we may be able to acquire that ability by becoming
> well-read outside our own time. It is, thus, not
> hard to think: How very, very bizarre our time is
> likely to look to historians living in the future,
> supposing there are any. Just as we may look back
> and shake our heads in wonder over some of the
> passions that inflamed the majority 400 years ago,
> so may our descendants look at us. "How, how
> could they?" And this idea that handing children
> over to be... Well, enough from me. I hope that,
> if anyone wants to discuss this topic, it could be
> done on a separate thread. So, there's my reply,
> Knygatin.

I want to reassure you, Dale, that I'm in no way discomfitted by your very obvious personal passion for literature in general and fantastic literature in particular. To me, it's nothing less than a mark of commitment to a quality analysis and discussion of topics that may--or conversely, may not--be of deep interest to me.

On the topic of Machen's Hieroglypics as a hybrid statement of his own worldview and how it relates to written works of art I'm not deeply interested, and here's why...

My own outlook is so deeply materialist that I can conceive of no actual reason to discuss anything other than the personal enjoyment of beauty solely for its own merit so far as the observer is affected by it. In short, I really don't care if my personal reaction to de la Mare's "All Hallows"--as uniquely subtle as it strikes me--is rooted in minute and as yet unobservable physical phenomena, or the mystical and wondrous. All I care is that I enjoy the hell out of some literature (and other works of art), I don't really know *why*, but also (since as a materialist, nothing ultimately matters), and ultimately, I don't really care.

Nihilism is for the philosophically lazy, I'll admit... ;^)

In the end, I enjoy your extensive comments and examinations, Dale; I tell you honestly that they are better than all but the best of my college Lit professors from 50 years ago, as an English undergrad.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2019 08:36PM
Sawfish, I'll suppose for the sake of argument that materialism is true, but what I'm not sure I see is why and how one would discuss questions of value with regard to literature... well, I guess you are saying: Right, there really isn't a point in discussing questions of value when "value" can only refer to the inevitable preferences of individuals (i.e. inevitable based on their genes, the accidents of their personal histories, the tastes and experiences characteristic of their time and place -- and so on).

This doesn't mean that materialism isn't true, of course, but it would mean, among other things, that professing literature isn't really legitimate. Literary history, as the recounting of biographies, the development of schools, the discovery of new techniques and recovery or forgetting of old ones, art as propaganda... all those could still be legitimate. But criticism like Machen's would be basically illegitimate, however well done someone might think it had been done.

I guess if we imagine Machen and Lovecraft sitting down together in 1930 to talk about literature, we would have to assume they could talk about favorites, and each might recommend some books the other hadn't read yet, but basically... they would have nothing to say to each other.

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2019 09:28PM
Interleaved, below:

Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish, I'll suppose for the sake of argument
> that materialism is true,

I can't say that it is for certain "true" but it appears to me to have the best answers to the reality that I can perceive.

> but what I'm not sure I
> see is why and how one would discuss questions of
> value with regard to literature... well, I guess
> you are saying: Right, there really isn't a point
> in discussing questions of value when "value" can
> only refer to the inevitable preferences of
> individuals (i.e. inevitable based on their genes,
> the accidents of their personal histories, the
> tastes and experiences characteristic of their
> time and place -- and so on).

Yes, this comes close to the way I see existence, but again, this is for *me*, mine, my view, and my view is no better informed than your own, Dale. And certainly not as well informed as your view of literature and art.

>
> This doesn't mean that materialism isn't true, of
> course, but it would mean, among other things,
> that professing literature isn't really
> legitimate. Literary history, as the recounting
> of biographies, the development of schools, the
> discovery of new techniques and recovery or
> forgetting of old ones, art as propaganda... all
> those could still be legitimate. But criticism
> like Machen's would be basically illegitimate,
> however well done someone might think it had been
> done.

Hmmm...

Not sure that I see that one is more, or less, legitimate than the other. I would like to hear your rationale for differentiating them.

Are we diverging too much? I'm content to continue, or to branch off in a new thread, if warranted.

>
> I guess if we imagine Machen and Lovecraft sitting
> down together in 1930 to talk about literature, we
> would have to assume they could talk about
> favorites, and each might recommend some books the
> other hadn't read yet, but basically... they would
> have nothing to say to each other.

Alternatively, what *might* they say?

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2019 10:30PM
Sawfish, what I meant (not sure I need to clarify, but --) was that, from a materialist point of view, English studies as literary history could still be legitimate -- a field of study in its way as valid as, say, spectrographic analysis of gases. Literary history could deal with the lives of authors (and publishers, illustrators, etc.), the characteristics and leading figures of various literary movements (e.g. the Pre-Raphaelites) as historical phenomena, the history of the discovery of, say, perspective, and of lost arts (e.g. William Blake's secret method of engraving), and the long and complicated story of art in the service of the state, or revolutions, or churches, and so on.

These could all be discussed -- maybe -- from the point of view of "objective description." One could even deal, materialistically, with hypotheses about why certain aesthetic experiences work the way they do. For example, do turn from literature to the visual arts, why, from a materialist point of view, did landscape painting arise, specifically representations of places that would in no way conduce to species survival? One could explain a painting of a lush water meadow in terms of its suggestion of a temperate climate, fertile soil and capacity for supporting food animals, etc. Why would humans ever have taken to painting scenes of high mountain peaks that have nothing to offer in those ways, but relate to values (presumably merely projected by the artist and the viewer -- but that begs the question of why anyone would project feelings of awe, etc. onto a representation of a scene of rocky soil where nothing but lichens maybe grows...?

So I'm saying that I could see lots of room for literary and artistic discussion by people holding materialist premises, but would also think that they would find discussions of value, like Machen's pointless -- "values" being illusions or even delusions.

Maybe I don't need to reiterate.

I think we have an issue here that is relevant to Hieroglyphics, but I don't know if it can be taken much further. Hence my imaginary meeting of Machen and Lovecraft.

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 01:47AM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> These could all be discussed -- maybe -- from the
> point of view of "objective description." One
> could even deal, materialistically, with
> hypotheses about why certain aesthetic experiences
> work the way they do. For example, do turn from
> literature to the visual arts, why, from a
> materialist point of view, did landscape painting
> arise, specifically representations of places that
> would in no way conduce to species survival? One
> could explain a painting of a lush water meadow in
> terms of its suggestion of a temperate climate,
> fertile soil and capacity for supporting food
> animals, etc. Why would humans ever have taken to
> painting scenes of high mountain peaks that have
> nothing to offer in those ways, but relate to
> values (presumably merely projected by the artist
> and the viewer -- but that begs the question of
> why anyone would project feelings of awe, etc.
> onto a representation of a scene of rocky soil
> where nothing but lichens maybe grows...?
>

From a materialist perspective the painting of a mountain peak may perhaps point to new fertile frontiers from a longer time perspective, that lie hidden in the future, not yet realized, inspire the effort to overcome seemingly impossible barriers. Perhaps the aesthetic pleasure of looking at this kind of painting, its majestic height, even hearkens vaguely to a related specific sense in the human being, that of longing to reach for the stars, and eventually other worlds that will offer new material opportunities.

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 11:13AM
Knygatin, your speculation about the mountain peak painting seems far-fetched to me, but then I think it's possible that for any or almost any theory of things, there will be some things that it seems to explain very well and others that it has to strain to explain.

Thus, there was a time when the adherents of the Ptolemaic conception of the universe resorted to what seem to us now far-fetched explanations of "epicycles." But there were other phenomena for which the Ptolemaic theory worked very well. But effort had to be put forward to "save the appearances," until the Copernican understanding carried the day.

Today, the theory of the multiverse seems far-fetched to some, a desperate effort to "save the appearances" in order to preserve materialism/naturalism*; all right, its advocates say, we grant that our universe does seem astonishingly fine-tuned for life; but then it is only one of a vast number, or, heck, even infinite number, of universes, that are not necessarily fine-tuned for life; we just happen to live in the very rare exception. Somewhat similarly, my "young earth creationist" brethren resort to far-fetched supposals to explain the "appearance" of great age for the universe. (It should be said that "young earth creationism" is a highly visible but minority view; I suppose most Christians who've gone into the matter think the universe looks old because it is old.) I'm sure that, if I were debating my own belief, some of the arguments I would put forward (where someone else would do it better) would seem far-fetched.

One of my favorite Christian writers, the novelist and poet Charles Williams, went so far as to write, "Patterns are baleful things, and more so because the irony of the universe has ensured that any pattern invented by man shall find an infinite number of facts to support it." I admit I'm not entirely comfortable with that statement!

….So, Knygatin, I have my doubts about your speculation regarding the explanation of the appeal of paintings of inhospitable mountain ranges, but I can respect it as a good try for "saving the appearances" on behalf of materialism.

Machen's Hieroglyphics could be discussed thus -- and I wish we would one of these days. What are the things, relating to the experience of literary art, that he deals with in a reasonably compelling way? What are his weaknesses? Where are there places that he simply seems not to notice, so that he neither deals with them convincingly nor unconvincingly? Does he cherry-pick his data? Or does he really point to some basic and important things about the experience of literature that tend to be neglected in our highly politicized literary scene today?


*[www.theatlantic.com]


Re: today's politics and literature:

[harpers.org]

[www.theguardian.com]

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 01:38PM
I may add that I was raised in a Christian upbringing. And I went to a Catholic kindergarten. I still pray to God. But now see the Christian religion as foremost a specific cultural expression of set morals for controlling the people. Though some of its values are universally applicable for good living.

I believe in the spiritual dimension, and see no conflict in that to materialistic thinking. For example, if I need to fix something with my car, I don't sit down and pray to God, but instead use my brain and think logically. Although I admit, an inner spiritual balance is helpful, so my mind doesn't drift away worrying over other things so that I loose my concentration on what I am doing at the moment.

Well then, how do You interpret the fascination with a mountain peak painting, from your particular perspective? Is the fascination a reflection of the longing to meet God? I would not reject that interpretation, and see no conflict in having that stand parallel to my earlier interpretation.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 26 Oct 19 | 02:05PM by Knygatin.

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 02:15PM
The materialistic world and the mechanisms of the Cosmos, is always too complicated for us to completely grasp it intellectually. Much of it may therefore seem mystical.

Or why not quote what A. C. Clarke once said: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 02:33PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Well then, how do You interpret the fascination
> with a mountain peak painting, from your
> particular perspective?

Particularly in the context of a discussion of Machen's Hieroglyphics, I might not want to say more than that painting scenes of inhospitable mountains shows something distinctive about human nature over against animals, and, so, it relates to the Hermit's fascination with "ecstasy," the sense of wonder, the sense that beauty matters for more than obvious utilitarian reasons, and so on.

The Hermit somewhere says, I think, something to the effect that art -- including "fine literature" -- is of the soul. Materialism tends to explain away the human mystery, or the human depth, seeking to understand mankind wherever possible in terms of what is less than ourselves, i.e. in terms of animals and so on. Fine literature, great art, etc. provide signals of transcendence -- that there is much in us that isn't obviously resolvable into "nothing but" our animal needs. They are part of our distinctively human habit of (Korzybski's term) "time-binding."

I think Machen would agree with Tolkien that

-------Although now long estranged,
Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned,
and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned:
Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seed of dragons -- 'twas our right
(used or misused). That right has not decayed:
we make still by the law in which we're made.

Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.------

The mountain wasn't made by the man, but the picture of the mountain was. There's one Creator, but perhaps as many "sub-creators" as there've been human beings.

(I want to use material explanations where they are appropriate for the situation, e.g. I want to get well by increasing my Vitamin D if a lack thereof is making me feel sick. But to understand myself, others, and art, I believe I sometimes need to understand these things in terms of the greater or "higher," e.g. when considering the soul, beauty, art, freedom, making promises, time-binding, etc.)

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 04:55PM
The quality of the work of a mystical writer like Arthur Machen (or Sheridan Le Fanu) who comes from a deeply religious background, is very clearly different from the work of a more materialistic intellectually oriented writer like Lovecraft. I like both expressions. Arthur Machen puts his trust to the mystical to guide him, without too much intellectual analysis; trusting his instinct. And with Machen's life experience, talent, and authority, all melding together, the literary achievement becomes very genuine and deeply moving, steeped in a mystical aura that can't be dissected. More intellectual writers, on the other hand, like Lovecraft, I find generally have a more innovative imagination. Machen is more of impressionist than expressionist. Clark Ashton Smith's approach I would say is closer to Lovecraft's than to Machen's. I am freely associating here, and may have to reevaluate some of it later.

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 05:09PM
Having finally completed a careful read of Machen's Hieroglyphics, I'm still wrestling with the central argument presented by the "hermit". Right towards the end of the Appendix, we get the sentence that really boils things down:

Quote:
"I will give you a test that will startle you; literature is the expression, through the aesthetic medium of words, of the dogmas of the Catholic Church, and that which is any way out of harmony with these dogmas is not literature."

I fully understand that the argument is leaning on the quality of the experience of Catholic dogmas, and not on the superficial wrapping that is the Catholic Church itself. More to the point, I understand that the appeal is to spiritual experience, rather than the humdrum banality of any organized religion.

Given that I was not raised with any religion, and have not sought it during my adulthood, I have absolutely no reference to approach what is intended by the selection of the example of "dogmas" of the Catholic Church, and thus I almost feel that the core argument of Hieroglyphics reaches beyond my own personal experience, which leaves me somewhat adrift.

That said, the advocacy of specific novels like The Pickwick Papers, The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel, etc is made with convincing force, and I'm already more than a hundred pages into The Pickwick Papers and enjoying every bit of it. So while Hieroglyphics remains something of a cypher for me, I don't regret the experience of reading it at all.

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 06:22PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
I am freely
> associating here, and may have to reevaluate some
> of it later.

I think I'll wait to say more till you decide whether or not you want to do so. But for now I'll say that a takeaway from your comment is that "weird fiction" -- which might seem like a narrow subgenre to someone who hasn't read much of it -- is pretty capacious. Probably most of what gets published as such isn't worth reading (cf. Sturgeon's Law), but even within the ranks of the generally acknowledged major authors, what a range of attitudes and beliefs may be indicated or at least allowed, from Machen and (I take it from what you say) Le Fanu to de la Mare and M. R. James to Blackwood and Poe and Smith and Lovecraft. (I'm not saying that that list should be taken as my idea of a "spectrum.")

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 06:47PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The materialistic world and the mechanisms of the
> Cosmos, is always too complicated for us to
> completely grasp it intellectually. Much of it may
> therefore seem mystical.


"Seem" would be important, if you take Lovecraft's view of things. Because his materialism means that, although there is much we don't know in detail, in principle we already know it all; it might seem "mystical," but not only everything we know now, but everything we ever could know, is, in principle, only an example of materialism. Everything is, for him, fundamentally, on the same level, whether it be microbes, ourselves, Yog-Sothoth, daisies or dust on the surface of a planet on the other side of the Milky Way from us. There's really nothing to be done except to fill in the details. We already know everything is just the product of the grinding away of mindless natural forces. Everything is always basically the same thing.

Machen is "mystical," though that's a word, like "romantic," that can be defined too many ways to be used precisely unless further explanation is given. But I agree with you. I would say he is "mystical" in at least this sense, that he believes in a hierarchical ontology, or levels of being (as I've suggested earlier in this thread).

We find ourselves in a middle- or meso-world, in more than one way. In terms of measurement, we are (roughly) in the middle between the nano-world on one hand, the almost infinitely meta-microscopic, and, on the other hand, the macroscopic, the realms of galaxies like grains of sand in the inconceivable immensity of the cosmos. We also (it has been believed) find ourselves between, on the one hand, the realm of things that have "inert" existence (of course, even a motionless rock is not literally unchanging throughout the millions of years of isotopic decay) but no life, no reproduction, no consciousness, and no freedom; and, on the other hand (it has been almost universally believed till the past 300 years or so), a perhaps innumerable array of beings that are less bound by time and space than we are (and so more free than we are).

Well, if something like this is true of Machen, then he's "mystical" because he sees us as possessing great knowledge of certain things, less knowledge of other things, and less still of still other things. Or at least as possessing progressively less knowledge of them the more we attempt to understand them using tools of thought that are not suited to them: mathematics, the laboratory, etc. Here again we can recall the maxim he liked, omnia exeunt in mysterium, all things pass into mystery -- even those rocks I mentioned above; since we do not know their ultimate origin nor their final (?) destiny, not, anyway, by the exercise of reason narrowly conceived. I don't think he is against science, just against the idea that science as usually understood is adequate for understanding all that exists.

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 07:09PM
Oldjoe Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Having finally completed a careful read of
> Machen's Hieroglyphics, I'm still wrestling with
> the central argument presented by the "hermit".
> Right towards the end of the Appendix, we get the
> sentence that really boils things down:
>
> "I will give you a test that will startle you;
> literature is the expression, through the
> aesthetic medium of words, of the dogmas of the
> Catholic Church, and that which is any way out of
> harmony with these dogmas is not literature."
>
> I fully understand that the argument is leaning on
> the quality of the experience of Catholic dogmas,
> and not on the superficial wrapping that is the
> Catholic Church itself. More to the point, I
> understand that the appeal is to spiritual
> experience, rather than the humdrum banality of
> any organized religion.
>
> Given that I was not raised with any religion, and
> have not sought it during my adulthood, I have
> absolutely no reference to approach what is
> intended by the selection of the example of
> "dogmas" of the Catholic Church, and thus I almost
> feel that the core argument of Hieroglyphics
> reaches beyond my own personal experience, which
> leaves me somewhat adrift.
>
> That said, the advocacy of specific novels like
> The Pickwick Papers, The Life of Gargantua and of
> Pantagruel, etc is made with convincing force, and
> I'm already more than a hundred pages into The
> Pickwick Papers and enjoying every bit of it. So
> while Hieroglyphics remains something of a cypher
> for me, I don't regret the experience of reading
> it at all.

Glad you're relishing Pickwick!

Machen's Hermit is deliberately being provocative. I'll attempt, a little, to unpack what his remark means.

By "Catholic Church" he doesn't mean the Roman Catholic Church, but what's often called the Una Sancta, the Church that's confessed in the Creed that says "I believe in... one holy catholic [or "Christian"] Church."

The "dogmas" he evidently has in mind I suppose include these:

1.There is one Divine being, but even the word "being" (or "spirit") may only be used with cautions. God is not one, not even the greatest, of a series of "beings." God is a "ground of being," we may say, except that sounds non-personal. God is far more "personal" than any created being, being the source of all persons. God is the great mystery, in that God may be contemplated, but God cannot be understood exhaustively. In this sense the finite is not capable of the infinite.
2.However, in another sense the finite is capable of the infinite. This is Machen's "sacramentalism." Anything that exists, since it has its origin in God, points to Him, even in a sense "bears" His presence.* The finite manifests the infinite. So he liked the traditional prayer, "O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal: Grant this, O Heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ's sake our Lord. Amen."

This implies the cultivation of a conscious, deliberate discipline vis-à-vis ourselves and things. Machen likes literary works that, he feels, align with this intention, and regards as inferior those that don't. So, therefore, he likes literary works that celebrate a childlike delight in this wide world (Pickwick) and doesn't greatly care for works that might seem to express the idea that a complete understanding of the world in social terms (Middlemarch) is possible and sufficient.

I wonder if the works he likes aren't the ones that, in some way or other, invite us to "childlikeness."

*Machen's use of "sacrament" is not utterly idiosyncratic, but, on the other hand, it should be remembered that "sacrament" as usually used has a more specific meaning. Baptism is a Sacrament, which could be defined as a material thing or operation to which the efficacious promise of God is joined in a rite of the Church; on the other hand, when "there's a feeling I get when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving," this isn't strictly "sacramental," though for Machen's typical usage it might be. Machen, then, probably would endorse Blake's maxim, "Everything that lives is holy," and even might say, "Everything is holy," in this sense. In another sense, the "holy" is what's set apart for particular sacred purposes. A consecrated wafer is holy in a way that a slice of bread is not, though they may be made of the same ingredients.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 26 Oct 19 | 07:57PM by Dale Nelson.

Re: Machen's Hieroglyphics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2019 07:55PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lovecraft's
> view of things. Because his materialism means
> that, although there is much we don't know in
> detail, in principle we already know it all; it
> might seem "mystical," but not only everything we
> know now, but everything we ever could know, is,
> in principle, only an example of materialism.
> Everything is, for him, fundamentally, on the same
> level, whether it be microbes, ourselves,
> Yog-Sothoth, daisies or dust on the surface of a
> planet on the other side of the Milky Way from us.
> There's really nothing to be done except to fill
> in the details.

I would expand on Lovecraft's view, and replace the term materialism with science instead. Science could continue to expand its frontiers to conceivably one day encompass less materialistic or non-materialistic components, developing into what today is not measurable but experienced as the spiritual dimension, now seen as separated from science. The material and the spiritual may so to speak become one and the same. The created Universe one day finally in itself becomes the Creator (which it already is, without realizing it), and so the full circuit of discovery through time is completed.

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