Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Alien

C. R. Wiley has an interesting post up concerning the different views of the alien as expressed by C.S. Lewis and H.P. Lovecraft.  It's a really long article, and I encourage you to read the whole thing.

But to give you a taste of how Wiley interprets Lovecraft's view:
Lovecraft believed he possessed greater insight into the nature of things than better-adjusted, healthier people. He took dark comfort in breaking the news to the rest of us that we are all as strange and out of place as he felt he was. He wanted to take his readers Outside, or, perhaps better, to bring the Outside inside. Here’s Lovecraft from yet another letter:
To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all. Only the human characters must have human qualities . . . but when we cross the line to the boundless and hideous unknown—the shadow-haunted Outside—we must remember to leave our humanity and terrestrialism at the threshold.
Meanwhile, Lewis sees things quite differently:
Because there is a “Wood Between the Worlds” for Lewis, creatures can be said to be beautifully fitted for their respective realms. Beauty does not merely reside in the eye of the beholder (although it certainly should reside there); it is recast. When prejudice and pride are cast away, the lines of alien beauty can come to the surface. Because the Wood Between the Worlds is common to all worlds, inhabitants from each world have the power to recognize the beauty resident in another world. This is not a species of relativism—it is classical Realism in a coat of many colors.
To a theist, all things are the product of God's divine purpose and grace.  They may be fallen and corrupted, but they must contain a spark of the divine, which gives beauty to even the most mundane or alien.

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