Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So the thread went to hell...

That thread over there at Ligotti.net went to hell, or so I´ve heard. Never went there to check it. But I believe in my antinatalist friends, so I know that it must have gone as they said it has. 

Now, two things strike me as being the matter of note here.

First, I never thought a thread about antinatalism would be ill received in a place such as Ligotti.net. C´mon. Even if Ligotti hasn´t considered himself an antinatalist, his works, his philosophy, is too grim to be taken lightly. To have a thread closed up about AN in such a website would be unthinkable to me. 

The second thing is about this aesthetics thing. Something has to be said about it, and I will say it now - because it´s about time. 

Too many, far too many times I´ve seen it happen. I´ve known people who do it. People who take the view and concepts of authors such as Lovecraft, Ligotti, and strip them of their philosophical significance, leaving only (and caring only about) the aesthetics part. 

I never got this. Really, have never understood it. 

Lovecraft and Ligotti - to cite just the two - are people (or in the case of Lovecraft, was) who suffer from what they see. Their creative output, if we could call it that, are raised from the deeps of their inner turmoil and suffering. If you could squeeze a book from Ligotti´s - for instance, his 'My Work Is Not Yet Done', it would feel right if it could drip amounts of blood and that black thing that oozed from a chicken on Eraserhead. I´m not trying to be 'holier than thou', or just another purist here defending his favorite artists. I´m just stating the truth of the matter - as I see it. 

People like them really put out their best works of art out of an attempt to try and control their fears, anxieties, depressions. I know, because I´m also a target of those mental disturbances. In other words, what they wrote about, and what they are talking about is not a matter of only aesthetics. They are trying to convey something. Sure, they might try to put this into "fiction" form, and all, but what they are writing about is very real, very tangible, in a way - they are discussing their fears, their thoughts about the world, existence. Works of art like theirs are philosophical treatises in disguise. Or at least that´s how I see it. And that´s how I believe they would like them to be seen. 

For both Lovecraft and Ligotti - again, just examples here, I could be talking about any number of authors - put out in words their feelings about life and existence. Both Lovecraft and Ligotti talked about what life means to them. And it ain´t pretty, just to quote the proverbial saying. It´s not like people (we, bad antinatalists, bad!) are inventing what they thought about life. They made it pretty clear what they think of it for all those who can read. 

And then, after I see them craft their beautiful and insightful works of art, with meaningful concepts and philosophical importance, all for people just to see them for their aesthetics, it´s absurd. It´s like the problem with the gothic subculture from the start - it just broke itself into a dressing contest, to the point that the "most goth" is the one the hefty amount of make up on his face. The "most goth" is the one with the most outrageous look. What a load of crap when things become just about effin aesthetics. 

With Lovecraft - and Ligotti´s - works, it´s just the same! All people know about Cthulhu, about the Old Ones, and they use them in any kinds of media, ranging from webcomics, to funny videos, to plush toys and so on and on. All that Lovecraft intended to pass on, became just a hobby, an afterthought, it became just another fad, another marketing product, merchandising. It´s just another way of "feeling" about something - which is aesthetics. You want to feel that ol' shiver down the spine? What about opening that Lovecraft tab of your browser and check out another of his tales, or maybe a quick search on the wikipedia or maybe seeing a picture of Cthulhu? Whatever floats your boat, I´d say, but aren´t we missing something here? Perhaps one of the loftiest goals of the man of Providence was not to have one of its main creations to turn into a plush toy. 

Call it a hunch. 
But I´m not saying to throw your plush toy away. No. If you like it, keep it, no problem. The thing is, all people want is the plush toy. Its the merch. It´s just about the aesthetics. People want the movies, the comics, the pictures, the soundtrack, the latest graphical novel based on the works, but not the actual philosophy that comes with it, the actual thought that aesthetics was in fact merely just a vessel to. 

I think this girl in this picture completely got what being the Devil is all about. Right, guys? ... Guys? 
I, in fact, am very much pleased by the fact that Hollywood never got to do any movie DIRECTLY based on any of Lovecraft´s works. To me, that´s the way it should be. Without wanting to beat a dead horse, Hollywood just popularizes stuff, it takes away the soul of anything. And the message of Lovecraft (or Ligotti) is too important to get lost beneath a fest of light and sound and explosions with a squared chinned protagonist and the blonde buxomed love interest. That´s my opinion, anyways. 

The thing is, there´s a whole philosophy that Thomas Ligotti presents, in all his interviews, in all his (very few) statements around the web. But apparently, to some, all that matters is the aesthetics. 

"Thomas Ligotti is a veritable master of horror fiction".

"Thomas Ligotti is among one of the most important horror writers of the 20th century".

And so on and on. All aesthetics. It´s all bizz, you know?

Well, ok, granted, he writes fiction, and that can be qualified aesthetically, ok. But the thing is, again, there´s a whole philosophy underneath it all, and which is not thought up or made up by any antinatalist, but it´s advocated and promoted by the author himself.

In my eyes, then, if you dissociate it, that´s your issue, because it´s damn well clear what the message is. 

But apparently, people who "like" Lovecraft, who "read" Ligotti, seemed to not be very fond of AN, or pessimism in general, just in the weird aesthetics of it. It´s all fun and games when people get to be called "jesters", "chemists", "dark princes", and all that, but when push comes to shove, they don´t uphold antinatalist, or even pessimist values? What the hell?

To be fair, that´s not a problem that has started, nor it will end, with this. There are a lot of "dark princes" out there, who just settled down and had families of their own, like not at all "dark" people out there, all the same. What´s the difference, may I ask? What, just a matter of aesthetics! It´s just a difference, right? Just a crazy way of being, you know?

I call bullshit. 

I have a problem with that. You can have your fun, but why be a hypocrite?

I never thought people would react badly to a thread about antinatalism inside a Thomas Ligotti website. 

Well, apparently I have seen new lows of hypocrisy, the likes of which I never thought to exist. 


  1. Great entry, Rafa. I'm going to repest here what I said over at Dima's blog:

    Personally, I am obliged to admit that the older I get the less patience I have for aesthetics. The reality of the world is too powerful and grim for me to find much solace in art. That's why I find those who wallow in 'art for art's sake' pretty intolerable, to be honest. And a lot of the time, it is an excuse for boundless egotism and wallowing narcissism.

    I believe Ligotti has gone down a similar road in recent years, as he says he only reads non-fiction these days and can no longer emotionally respond to fiction.

    1. I will second that Karl.

      Great post Rafael. Really really incisive and cuts straight to the point. I mentioned before how I hate the fact that this capitalistic, life-affirming nonsense of a society manages to somehow twist every single "negative" thing into some sort of merchandise to be peddled and Fedexed. In fact, there was an anime made based off one of the characters in Lovecraft novels, and guess what, it was an anime and it wasn't even deep or melancholic but a comedy!

      I really have nothing more to say about this travesty. It takes intellectual minds to hold on to our positions no matter the assaults and accusations.

    2. Thank you both Karl and Dima.

      And yes, Dima, I believe AN´s to be of the highest order of intellectuals on this god forsaken rock.

      Many cheers

  2. Funny you bring this up. I was just reading a thread there, and came away thinking it's more for the common fanboy who likes to dwell on the horrors of Ligotti's fictional worlds, but don't want to talk about the true horrors of existence. It's Zapffean escapism. I won't say who one of the worst offenders is... Okay, I will. Quentin Crisp. In his own words, he can't comprehend antinatalism. Or maybe he does, but still can't accept it. His one essay he has on the subject seems to attack it.

    Anyways, yeah, Ligotti.net is more a fan site. Don't look for deep truths there.


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