Story Time

Lately the possibility of cataclysmic change in our world keeps surfacing for me. I like to think it comes in two primary flavors. One is sort of a Lovecraftian sense of overwhelm, best summarized by the intro to “Call of Cthulhu"

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

This is isn’t super related, but there’s a super interesting analysis video which links Joseph Campbell and Lovecraft to the plot of Bloodborne. This video is actually what got me started on this whole journey thinking about myths and modern retellings of myths.

The other option comes from someone I’ve been learning more about lately. Her name is Donna Haraway, and despite her claims to the contrary I’m pretty sure she intentionally named her latest book Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Cthuluscene. And whether or not she intended it really doesn’t matter, because I for one appreciate that a positive trajectory can be made from the bleakness of that Lovecraft quote. Sort of a “Yes, and…” to the prospect of knowing too much. I have tried many times to articulate what it is Haraway is saying, but ultimately I think the best thing I can do is just link some of her material in an order that might make the most sense.

  • This is what I read first - a paper written by her in 1985 about using science fiction to contextualize and envision realistic futures in our real world: Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto”

  • For the Wild did this podcast interview with her, which is from earlier this year.

  • Then there’s Storytelling for Earthly Survival. Getting to this one is a little trickier. If you have a library card you can get it for free by downloading Hoopla onto a mobile device. if you’re willing to spend some dough, it’s on Amazon or Vimeo for $5. Here’s a trailer:

I should add that Joseph Campbell was kind of what got me fascinated in this whole host of ideas. It’s given me something to hang this wacky lifestyle on - the possibility of expanding minds and recasting ourselves. For that I’d recommend hearing it from the man himself via Power of Myth on Netflix.

Hey check it out, someone uploaded them all on YouTube also: