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The Interchange of Heaven and Hell
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 4 June, 2020 04:19PM
There is an interesting line from CAS's story "The Light from Beyond", in the scene when the narrator is experiencing ultradimensional sensations:

"I peered down upon the utmost heavens, and the hells that lie contiguous to the heavens; and I saw the perennial process of their fiery transmutation and interchange."

This line reminded me of his other story "Schizoid Creator", in which a psychotherapist correctly theorizes that God and the Devil are split personalities of one being, and attempts to psychologically cure them. The story ended with Satan walking up a flight of steps to Heaven, instantly transforming into God.

CAS was certainly no Christian, and "Schizoid Creator" was a very tongue-in-cheek parody, but for much of his adult life he seemed to have mystical inclinations, especially based on accounts from his friend Dr. Farmer, who said Smith appreciated dualism in mythology, and the aspects of Christianity that aren't controlled by zealots and hypocritical laws.

These two stories make me wonder if Smith had any interesting thoughts about the nature of "Heaven" and "Hell", and perhaps "good" and "evil" in human nature. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

EDIT: This duality reminds me, my username is actually the name of a protagonist from a story CAS never finished, about statues representing good and evil, which come to life and battle one another in a never-ending cycle. Perhaps this has some minor significance.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 4 Jun 20 | 04:23PM by Hespire.

Re: The Interchange of Heaven and Hell
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 5 June, 2020 04:13AM
I remember Schizoid Creator well. A rare example (along with maybe The Great God Awto) of CAS showing he had a sense of humour. What struck me about your extract was the use of the word contiguous, which I'd interpret as meaning adjacent to one another - so maybe CAS wasn't putting Heaven & Hell on different levels - one above and one below - but instead has them sharing a common plane. Maybe this says something about his beliefs in this regard? That they constitute a sort of Yin & Yang?



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