Three weeks ago I was in Hollywood taking my neice on the Typical Tour and we came across the standard variety of fruits and nuts one expects to find cadging dollars from tourists. There were break dancers, chanting Krishnas, people dressed as Iron Man, Spiderman, Darth Vader and Naruto, paint can drummers and some cultists going on about the end of the world.
It turns out that the cultists had more followers than a few, and just now I have come to discover the name of Harold Camping. Perhaps that was the man who said on the Michael Medved show yesterday that all of the sinners were going to be raised from their graves and their bones left above ground - literally billions of dead. Cultists!
It's rather coincidental then, that I have been reading Charles Stross' Laundry series and becoming more familiar with Lovecraftian fiction. It's something I've always been aware of but never been attracted to. In the latest book, The Fuller Memorandum, a similar scenario was to take place. In fact, it is one of the standard premises of the series called Case Nightmare Green. As much as Gnu Atheists like to make fun of the religious, a great deal of sci fi is equally ridiculous and unprovable. But I say all good fictions serve a purpose. Think 'War of the Worlds'. What is that but a 'scientifically plausible' Rapture? The point of Rapture, or Nuclear Winter, or Global Warming is to test the morality of people now who need to be scared into action by reckoning with their own mortality and the inevitable death of their neighbors. The point is not *when* it will happen, but *that* it could happen, especially if we sit around and do nothing to stop it. It's always the same thing, all you need is the proper nightmare scenario. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
Now the Lovecraftian makes more sense to me - helping me to reckon with that which is completely absurd and obscure. That which, left untended, could cause men to lose their minds and personalities. Like the crazy gas that the enemy of Batman let loose in that movie, there are things out there that make people go bonkers, reducing them by way of sheer horror to inert husks of their former selves. Are there such gibbering horrors loose in our world? Yes, I believe there are. You might call it 'mental illness' or even traumatic stress disorder, or religious fundamentalism, or any number of labels. But there are poisons that infect and snap the mind. What would it take for you to consider it in your interest to dress up like Soulja Boy and dance for dollars on Hollywood Boulevard? Somebody is already there, and worse.
Worse is like the mind of Assad who is having his soldiers assassinate civilians in the streets of Syria, gunning them down like feral dogs.
It is the end of somebody's world every day. And we don't have to look for reasons beyond the stars. What kind of madness compels us to find cosmic reasons in spite of the reality of today's tyranny?