03-25-02, 08:16 PM #1
"Wanting to die is your reason to live..."
Could this explain why people "discover" religion?
It is something I had been thinking about for several years now.
Maybe I should just stop listening to Slayer.
03-25-02, 08:35 PM #2
Welcome to sciforums!!
would you please explain what you mean by "discovering" religion??
03-25-02, 08:44 PM #3
03-26-02, 08:45 AM #4
Last edited by Xev; 03-26-02 at 09:46 AM.
03-26-02, 05:16 PM #5
Wanting to die?
Some religions, indeed, look forward to death. Both Ignatius of Antioch and Origen prayed for death before the lions, as I recall.
And I personally wonder about the religions that look forward to the end of the world.
Note to Xev: That Cthulhu pic is effing hilarious
03-27-02, 12:25 AM #6
That Cthulhu looks like a squid with wings ?? ( I am assuming its the little critter and not the chick)
Please explain ???
03-27-02, 12:58 AM #7
Well, now ... a sight for sore eyes ...
'Tis a pleasure, indeed, to see your name back among us. Welcome, sir.
If I might ... (if Xev doesn't mind):That Cthulhu looks like a squid with wings ?? ( I am assuming its the little critter and not the chick)
Ever listen to Metallica? Iron Maiden? Both borrowed the phrase that Xev posted in another topic: That is not dead which can eternal lie, for with strange aeons, even death may die. It appears on a headstone on the sleeve of Maiden's Live After Death album, and also in the Metallica song The Thing That Should Not Be from the Master of Puppets album. Incidentally, there is a second Lovecraft-inspired song by Metallica; or, rather, a first. On an earlier album, Ride the Lightning, Metallica featured an instrumental called The Call of Ktulu; it's said that James Hetfield couldn't stand Lovecraft, strangely. He bitched once about how Lovecraft spelled everything. Oh, well.
Cool ... there is an H. P. Lovecraft archive ... I can't believe I didn't think to look for that earlier, just for my own benefit ... now it doesn't matter that ex-girlfriends have a habit of stealing my Lovecraft volumes (and I don't know why, either ... none of them ever read the books).
Welcome back, sir ...
03-27-02, 01:15 AM #8
That Cthulhu looks like a squid with wings
Anyways, Great Cthulhu came to earth with a bunch of other critters that inhabit Lovecraft's fiction (and others wrote in the same vein). Cthulhu now lies sleeping in a sunken city (R'yleh) and will rise again, when the stars are right.
Cthulhu's dreams influence people, who formed the Cthulhu Cult. Of which I am a preistess*. To put it thus:
Cthulhu is a Great Old One. He and his brethren ruled the Universe untold millennia ago, but now the stars are wrong and He lies sleeping in his city beneath the waves, R'lyeh. When the Stars Are Right He will emerge and feast, and we who worship Him will be elevated to our rightful places of power, and will live forever in an orgy of feasting, fighting, and f... well, you get the idea.
and I don't know why, either ... none of them ever read the books
*It is a joke. I'm an athiest. Although Great Cthulhu is not a god.
03-27-02, 01:18 AM #9
Lovecraft was a master of words? I think we have very different standards. Every description Lovecraft ever gives is "... forgeotten name, unspeakable, beyond description..." and that's about it. And he tends to go on, an don, and on, and on... before anything happens, and then it's usually one of those descriptions. And then instead of people loading up and taking aim, they suddenly flip out and stand there drooling instead of shooting. Fun books, but hardly brilliant.
03-27-02, 02:05 AM #10
It is a matter of opinion ...
But I must say, Adam that if the unutterables, indescribables, and unspeakably monstrous form the majority of your Lovecraft experience, you might be reading August Derleth stories moonlighting as Lovecraft.One must look back at Charles Ward's earlier life as at something belonging as much to the past as the antiquities he loved so keenly. In the autumn of 1918, and with a considerable show of zest in the military training of the period, he had begun his junior year at the Moses Brown School, which lies very near his home. The old main building, erected in 1819, had always charmed his youthful antiquarian sense; and the spacious park in which the academy is set appealed to his sharp eye for landscape. His social activities were few; and his hours were spent mainly at home, in rambling walks, in his classes and drills, and in pursuit of antiquarian and genealogical data at the City Hall, the State House, the Public Library, the Athenaeum, the Historical Society, the John Carter Brown and John Hay Libraries of Brown University, and the newly opened Shepley Library in Benefit Street. One may picture him yet as he was in those days; tall, slim, and blond, with studious eyes and a slight droop, dressed somewhat carelessly, and giving a dominant impression of harmless awkwardness rather than attractiveness.
His walks were always adventures in antiquity, during which he managed to recapture from the myriad relics of a glamorous old city a vivid and connected picture of the centuries before. His home was a great Georgian mansion atop the well-nigh precipitous hill that rises just east of the river; and from the rear windows of its rambling wings he could look dizzily out over all the clustered spires, domes, roofs, and skyscraper summits of the lower town to the purple hills of the countryside beyond. Here he was born, and from the lovely classic porch of the double-bayed brick facade his nurse had first wheeled him in his carriage; past the little white farmhouse of two hundred years before that the town had long ago overtaken, and on toward the stately colleges along the shady, sumptuous street, whose old square brick mansions and smaller wooden houses with narrow, heavy-columned Doric porches dreamed solid and exclusive amidst their generous yards and gardens.
He had been wheeled, too, along sleepy Congdon Street, one tier lower down on the steep hill, and with all its eastern homes on high terraces. The small wooden houses averaged a greater age here, for it was up this hill that the growing town had climbed; and in these rides he had imbibed something of the colour of a quaint colonial village. The nurse used to stop and sit on the benches of Prospect Terrace to chat with policemen; and one of the child's first memories was of the great westward sea of hazy roofs and domes and steeples and far hills which he saw one winter afternoon from that great railed embankment, and violet and mystic against a fevered, apocalyptic sunset of reds and golds and purples and curious greens. The vast marble dome of the State House stood out in massive silhouette, its crowning statue haloed fantastically by a break in one of the tinted stratus clouds that barred the flaming sky.There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we listen and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.The figure, which was finally passed slowly from man to man for close and careful study, was between seven and eight inches in height, and of exquisitely artistic workmanship. It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters. The tips of the wings touched the back edge of the block, the seat occupied the centre, whilst the long, curved claws of the doubled-up, crouching hind legs gripped the front edge and extended a quarter of the way clown toward the bottom of the pedestal. The cephalopod head was bent forward, so that the ends of the facial feelers brushed the backs of huge fore paws which clasped the croucher's elevated knees. The aspect of the whole was abnormally life-like, and the more subtly fearful because its source was so totally unknown. Its vast, awesome, and incalculable age was unmistakable; yet not one link did it shew with any known type of art belonging to civilisation's youth - or indeed to any other time. Totally separate and apart, its very material was a mystery; for the soapy, greenish-black stone with its golden or iridescent flecks and striations resembled nothing familiar to geology or mineralogy. The characters along the base were equally baffling; and no member present, despite a representation of half the world's expert learning in this field, could form the least notion of even their remotest linguistic kinship. They, like the subject and material, belonged to something horribly remote and distinct from mankind as we know it. something frightfully suggestive of old and unhallowed cycles of life in which our world and our conceptions have no part.
(H. P. Lovecraft's sketch of Cthulhian figurine.)
http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/lovecraft/Cthulhu.GIFAnd the bird of heaven flew before, and led us toward the basalt pillars of the West, but this time the oarsmen sang no soft songs under the full moon. In my mind I would often picture the unknown Land of Cathuria with its splendid groves and palaces, and would wonder what new delights there awaited me. “Cathuria,” I would say to myself, “is the abode of gods and the land of unnumbered cities of gold. Its forests are of aloe and sandalwood, even as the fragrant groves of Camorin, and among the trees flutter gay birds sweet with song. On the green and flowery mountains of Cathuria stand temples of pink marble, rich with carven and painted glories, and having in their courtyards cool fountains of silver, where purr with ravishing music the scented waters that come from the grotto-born river Narg. And the cities of Cathuria are cinctured with golden walls, and their pavements also are of gold. In the gardens of these cities are strange orchids, and perfumed lakes whose beds are of coral and amber. At night the streets and the gardens are lit with gay lanthorns fashioned from the three-colored shell of the tortoise, and here resound the soft notes of the singer and the lutanist. And the houses of the cities of Cathuria are all palaces, each built over a fragrant canal bearing the waters of the sacred Narg. Of marble and porphyry are the houses, and roofed with glittering gold that reflects the rays of the sun and enhances the splendor of the cities as blissful gods view them from the distant peaks. Fairest of all is the palace of the great monarch Dorieb, whom some say to be a demi-god and others a god. High is the palace of Dorieb, and many are the turrets of marble upon its walls. In its wide halls many multitudes assemble, and here hang the trophies of the ages. And the roof is of pure gold, set upon tall pillars of ruby and azure, and having such carven figures of gods and heroes that he who looks up to those heights seems to gaze upon the living Olympus. And the floor of the palace is of glass, under which flow the cunningly lighted waters of the Narg, gay with gaudy fish not known beyond the bounds of lovely Cathuria.”
On the one hand, no, I don't feel sorry for sidetracking this topic with these citations. I, at least, have a little bit of reading to do before posting a Lovecraft topic in Art & Culture, but the subject came up today and I, at least, am having a blast. I intend no disrespect to our topic poster, and will happily surrender the topic back to its original subject.
Adam ... It would be most appropriate of me to ask what you consider masterful literature. While I agree that the general public is uh ... well, while I agree that the general public ... yeah.
I'll simply point out that ...
F--k it It's just that your assessment is at odds with writers of fiction and non-fiction, weird or otherwise, and while I hear what you say about Lovecraft going on and on, it's a different purpose than a Mack Bolan novel, or a Schwarzeneggar film.
They teach Edgar Allen Poe in some of the schools on our side of the oceans. Having read Lovecraft extensively, I cannot understand why they waste their time on Poe.
I might point you toward the Lovecraft Bestiary ... how to describe these things while achieving the desired literary effect? Lovecraft pulled it off marvelously. It's worth mentioning that he's also spawned a pseudo-religion by accident.
I'll stop now
03-27-02, 02:46 AM #11
Haven't read Mack Bolan stuff, and Schwarzeneggar films are, well, Schwarzneggar films. Although the bit from True Lies where Jamie Lee Curtis asks "Have you killed people?" and Arnold answers "Yes, but they were all bad" really cracks me up. It's a great joke.
What do I consider great literature? Well, it depends on what sort of thing you're talking about, what field. If you're talking old books by long-dead people (for some reason that is the primary condition for a book being "literature", according to many), then I would have to dish out these comments...
1984 is still my favourite of this type, if only because its message can be seen in the world around us every day. If you squint.
The Great Gatsby. I don't understand at all why this is considered such a great book. It's 180 pages or so of descriptions of life in that time/place (good descriptions, true, but that's all they are), followed by the entire story happening in the last five pages. Doesn't do a lot for me.
Shakespeare. They call this guy The Poet? He was a devout capitalist, writing soap operas for the masses. Most of his plays are basically the same thing with names changed now and then, using the same heartstring-yanking ploys every time to get the masses dropping their pennies in the box by the door. Never impressed me much.
Poe I actually like, at least what I have read so far. I bought the whole lot in one huge volume a while back, but it was soon "borrowed" by a friend doing some writing course. I like this guy's descriptions.
G. B. Shaw I also find a bit funny, and worth reading. Again, I bought it all in one huge volume, which is sitting back at my family's farm right now. Most of my books are; so far I've only brought my computer books up here to uni.
Jules Verne I would have to say is brilliant. Great imagination, fun stories, great for kids of all ages.
Camus and his buddies were interesting for about a month, then I realised I'd had every thought they'd all set to paper before I was 5 and really didn't care any more.
Now, apart from old dead chappies, what else do I enjoy?
A Song Of Ice And Fire (I think that's the name of the series) by George Martin. One of those swords and magic types. Probably the best characterisation I've ever seen in this type of story, interesting people, interesting world.
Hyperion series by Dan Simmons, science fiction extraordinaire. The first book is just a set of short stories used to set everything up for the series. Damn cool stuff.
The Last Ghost. I can't remember who wrote this short story, but it's one of my favourite stories ever. Can't even recall what anthology it appeared in, but it's worth a read if you can find it. About, well, the last ghost. *shrug*
David Eddings I found fun for a while, until he just started repeating everything. Every book he's written for the last decade is the same. I guess he's on a winning formula and wants to stick to it.
I prefer to read pure fiction. I find that supposedly deep and insightful commentaries on society are generally written by sell-out pretend crusaders trying to make some money off True Believers and modern-day wannabe Bohemian art-student rejects. They grab a few facts and wrap a big bunch of opinions around them, it's nothing more than what you can find in any newspaper, and I don't like newspapers. I find my own thoughts about the world far more interesting than theirs anyway.
Just remembered a book many consider great literature. Gibbon's The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. Biggest load of crap (literally and figuratively) I've ever read, just about. Unbelievable bollocks. The entire book would make sense if you were a fundy christian, but only if you were a fundy christian. He doesn't say "Then he died", instead he says "Then, because he turned his back on the Lord God, God smacked his arse down". Terrible book.
Really trying here to recall some good books, but quite frankly most books I've ever read haven't been that good. Some of the Eddas are interesting, like Burnt Njal, but you have to remember they were written from oral stories intended to be told live to cold people stuck inside all Winter.
Last edited by Adam; 03-27-02 at 03:01 AM.
03-27-02, 03:08 AM #12
Now if you really want good descriptions of monsters, check out S. A. Wakefield's Bottersnikes & Gumbles.
03-27-02, 03:57 AM #13
I would love to read that ...Camus and his buddies were interesting for about a month, then I realised I'd had every thought they'd all set to paper before I was 5 and really didn't care any more.
In the meantime, yeah ... it was a broad request. Here, I'll throw a list at you:
•*Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World is a literary triumph, Jesting Pilate a philosophical triumph, and Doors of Perception a necessary triumph.
•*Lee, Harper: To Kill a Mockingbird is, hands down, the Great American Novel for a while now. Deservedly so.
•*Cady, Jack: It's hard to describe Jack Cady; Inagehi and Singleton are outstanding novels; his short fiction is gripping; his integrity bleeds off the page.
• Bradbury, Ray: The Great American Writer.
•*Barker, Clive: Weaveworld was the crowning achievement of the 1980s horror movement. (Side note: Robert McCammon's Boy's Life was the definitive end of that movement; he put down and everybody changed gears--no contemporary can touch that novel in that genre.)
• Andersen, Sherwood: Winesburg, Ohio is the only book of his I ever read; Twain knew who he was, as I recall. Twain had no choice but to know who he was.
•*Salinger, JD: The Great American Prophet. Raise High the Roof Beams and Seymour are lessons in how to write human stories.
•*Lovecraft, Howard Phillips: I've been through that one.
• L'Engle, Madeleine: The Wrinkle in Time trilogy put a number of young peoples' classics to shame: Narnia is lackluster; I'm actually reading Terabithia at present ...
I admit I'm not particularly huge on "classic" literature, even the more recent classics. I'm not a Twain fan; Sinclair Lewis annoys me; Poe is childish, imho; okay, there's always Nathaniel Hawthorne--The Scarlet Letter is an amazing piece of work. Dickens is okay ... I am a bit of a stylist when it comes to fiction, so by the time I get back to Shakespeare, I don't really give a rat's behind.
Of "pure fiction" ... part of the problem with pure fiction is that a clear majority of it is canned. I tried reading Robert Jordan a few months ago; I couldn't do it. The guy had reasonable rhythm and what seemed like a meticulous plot outline; his seeming thesaurus-bender, though, sought words that, while descriptive, weren't the best choice. After a while you got a sense of someone just pounding you with Roget. But books are getting to be like movies. Danielle Steele was bad enough, but then Bret Easton Ellis hit the scene and made sickness popular. Stephen King? It's been said that he doesn't remember writing Cujo. He had a couple of shining moments, but nothing to warrant such acclaim and popularity. Douglas Coupland and William Gibson have my respect despite fostering movements that, aside from their work, have no place in a bookstore. Well, I don't think Coupland or Gibson would appreciate being called pure fiction, but the problem I have with pure fiction is that it is a product for market, not a work of conscience and art. Ever witness a musical "signing frenzy" (e.g. Seattle, 1992-95) or a movie-release race (e.g. disaster films--Armageddon, Deep Impact, a couple of others I can't even recall, and two horrible television movies in a short time) ... heck, Disney even signed Clive Barker to write their counterattack against Harry Potter. That's what literature is like now (e.g. post-Coupland cyberpunk movement). Horror, for instance, did experience a miniature Golden Age after the publication of The Stand and Carrie because of the signing race.
I'll stop now ... but I need to mention two more: Steven Brust and Megan Lindholm ... did you know that Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches earned its title Taltos (a Gypsy word) only after Brust repeatedly topped SciFi/Fantasy lists with his novels about Vlad Taltos? Great move. I was reading Brust's 1988 Taltos a few years back and someone I worked with got all snotty about how she hated the fact that writers were trying to copy Anne Rice. That's why I'm so touchy about "pure fiction"--it's all about marketing and pride. Sure, there are some great books out there that are pure fiction, but you might not read some of them because somebody has decided for you that you won't like it.
I won't comment on the mystery novel.
I promise I'll stop now.
(PS--if I have a true religion, it is literature and art. There, I'm still digressing the topic but I can at least make it forum-appropriate somehow )
03-27-02, 04:15 AM #14
Not interested in relations between various books by a group of pals who were busy imitating each other and one-upping each other 60 years ago just so they could be seen as revolutionaries. From what I have read of them, that whole bunch were pretentious pricks with far too much free time. Maybe you have to be to write books, I don't know. I couldn't get through Nausea, it bored me silly. Nothing worth reading there. Although The Outsider was okay I guess, but like I said, after about a month I got sick of it all.
Never got around to reading Huxley, although everyone tells me I should. I'll get there some day.
My sister probably has Bradbury somewhere (she has every second book ever written by anyone). Might borrow some. He's another everyone tells me to read.
The only thing I've read so far by Clive Barker is Imajica, which was quite interetsing, lots of fun.
Stephen King writes good pizza-and-video night movies.
I'm not sure about William Gibson fostering a movement...
Not a fan of the Great American Novels, many of which you have listed there. All these tales of American life on farms or in city slums or whatever. "This was how I grew up in Chicago in the 50s..." Just not interested.
If anyone can tell me who wrote The Last Ghost, I'd really appreciate it. I can't find it again. It's in my sister's book collection, in the Anthologies section, but it's really a lot to work through to find one story.
Last edited by Adam; 03-27-02 at 04:22 AM.
03-27-02, 04:49 AM #15
Stephen Goldin News Network--writer of The Last Ghost.I'm not sure about William Gibson fostering a movement...Not interested in relations between various books by a group of pals who were busy imitating each other and one-upping each other 60 years ago just so they could be seen as revolutionaries. From what I have read of them, that whole bunch were pretentious pricks with far too much free time. Maybe you have to be to write books, I don't know. I couldn't get through Nausea, it bored me silly. Nothing worth reading there. Although The Outsider was okay I guess, but like I said, after about a month I got sick of it all.Not a fan of the Great American Novels, many of which you have listed there. All these tales of American life on farms or in city slums or whatever. "This was how I grew up in Chicago in the 50s..." Just not interested
take it easy ...,
03-27-02, 05:23 AM #16
Thanks for finding the author of that story, it's damn good. Give it a try if you can find it. Only short, but I love it.
No, I only started reading that left-bank stuff when I was 18, and realised after a month it wasn't that interesting. When I was four or five I used to sit in a park across from my family's old house and just sort of think about stuff. I used to ask myself questions such as "Why are we here?" and "What's the point of humans?" Once, about five years old, I asked my friend Mason Tilly "What the purpose of it all?" or something like that. He just said "You're weird, seeya later", and he wandered off home. Yes, I am an odd duck. I have memories from when I was a few weeks old, I was talking and walking at a year, I never needed toilet training, I never cried as a baby, and I was asking myself and other people those questions when I was four and five years old. Of course, that probably sounds pretentious too... But really, I could get nothing new out of those books. Honestly, I have been confusing myself with all that "deep" stuff ever since I can remember, and all it's given me is more questions than answers.
As for the Great American Novel thing, well, I guess I could give some of them a try some day. I don't have much time for fiction at the moment, unfortunately. I'm stuck into Internetworking With TCP/IP Architecture, and Fundamentals Of Electrical And Electronic Design, and fun stuff like that.
And I just recalled why I got back on to Sciforums: I remembered an author I enjoy. Arthur Conan Doyle. So far I've only read some Holmes and some horror stuff, but he's very good.
03-27-02, 02:16 PM #17
Wow, we are making it forum-appropriateBut really, I could get nothing new out of those books
It is also your conscious decision.I used to ask myself questions such as "Why are we here?" and "What's the point of humans?" Once, about five years old, I asked my friend Mason Tilly "What the purpose of it all?" or something like that. He just said "You're weird, seeya later", and he wandered off home.
03-27-02, 03:49 PM #18
03-27-02, 07:02 PM #19
Re: Well, now ... a sight for sore eyes ...Originally posted by tiassa
'Tis a pleasure, indeed, to see your name back among us. Welcome, sir.
Thanks for the welcome but alas my name will not appear often - time constraints.
I do still lurk in the background on occassion catching up with the latest in the forums of interest ie. Religion, Philo, Science Etc.
However there tends to be quite a bit of repetition in the discussion which I have no doubt that you yourself would have noticed over time. Due to my time shortage I will only be posting to ask questions / discuss new things that appear.
Else if anyone wants to specifically discuss God issues my email is available.
Hey we never did finish that niffty conversation we once got into. Maybe some day.