The Liminalist # 103: The Lovecraft Paradox (with Heather Poirier)

Return conversation with Heather Poirier, on writing as detective work, discovering HP Lovecraft, cosmic indifference and the real horror, The Dunwich Horror, levels of accessibility, the Lovecraft Project, Lovecraft’s writers circle, the end of anthropocentricism, August Derleth, indifference vs. malevolence, the way the cosmos rocks, the question of ethics, a harmless life, Lovecraft’s Roman values, rejecting Jung, the Enlightenment and gothic horror, the context for the weird, the Edgar Allan Poe project,  exploring the depths of insanity, Kafka & how authors are shaped by their audience, the Derleth damage, how HPL limited his audience, Lovecraft’s prolific letter-writing, the Derleth narrative, S. T. Josie’s restoration project, The Necronomicon & the occult resurgence, post-Beatles heightened credulity, science & occultism, the CIA & psychism, quantum mechanics, taking HPL literally, the authorial intention fallacy, wrestling with meaninglessness, the Lovecraft Paradox, the blank screen of the universe, the noise from space, the question of responsibility, the UFO question, John Podesta & Edgar Mitchell emails, Peter Levenda’s reputation, sex trafficking in Hollywood, alien abduction & MKULTRA, the UFO bomb & space culture, DC child trafficking & class distinctions, where one places one’s attention, US child porn, UK pedophile rings, the pyramid of power abuse, keeping to the margins, True Detective, Rust Cole’s conversion moment, social evil & metaphysical good, The Night Manager, an instinct for good, Thomas Ligotti & Stephen Norquist.

Songs:  “The Kommema and his Religion” & “Of the Lakes,” by SunWalker; “Phonograph,” by Sounds in the Olive Grove; “Welcome to my Daydream,” by Rick Bain; “A Celebration of the Human Body,” by Spindrift.

10 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 103: The Lovecraft Paradox (with Heather Poirier)”

  1. Heather! You go, girl! I just sent this email to my friend Rocky Levenda

    (my pet name for Peter since I also grew up in NYC near “da Bronx.” It’s all so Roman Catholic, you know, Simon, Peter, Kephas, and “upon this rock I build my Church”, but what cinched the name is that the great home run hitter of the 50s & 60’s, Rocky Colavito grew up near Peter’s neighborhood in da Bronx.)

    As me dear late Irish father Harry would say: “Maybe you’ll get a rise out if him.”

    Tom

    =============
    Yo Rocky!

    All righty, then! This just in! The Levenda Vendetta continues! Jasun just uploaded a new podcast today with Heather Poirier, a Mensa Goddess and Mastress of the Scientific Method, who is also a literary expert on Lovecraft. (See Heather’s blog on Lovecraft.)

    I transcribe the 2 sections where she turns her Mensa smarts on your Necronomical skullduggery.

    =====================

    00:46:00 Jasun brings up the Simon Necronomicon

    00:46:45 Heather replies: “It’s crap! I read it back to front in Middle School and even then I recognized it as crap. … Can’t call it Lovecraftian . . . You can’t create a magical system and expect it to work because magic doesn’t exist! . . . and, Levenda, I’m assuming we’re firm on him being the author of it?

    JH: Not entirely firm. . . it’s, like, part of the whole thing, the non-denial denials and the ambiguity, that seems to be part of the strategy . . .

    ======================

    01:14:35

    HP: I got a question.You referred to the “reputable Levenda,” You know he hasn’t published with a reputable publishing house since 2009? I don’t know if he can continue to earn the moniker ‘reputable.”

    JH: Good! I’m glad to hear it. Keep going.

    HP: I checked the publishing house for all his books and he is now down to a small press. You know “wildman” type places.

    JH: Like Trine Day . . .

    HP: Stuff like that undermines your credibility. I understand that . . . it’s part of the circular reasoning of some of these groups: “You can’t go with a reputable press because they won’t publish you, and they won’t publish you because you’re not reputable.” That’s circular reasoning.

    =====================

  2. Tom: “Vendetta” (despite rhyming) is definitely laying it on a bit thick, unless you are referring to your own campaign? 😉

    Just doing our bit to counteract a perception management project decades in the making.

    • As far as my own campaign against Rocky, I have already billed myself to him as The Levenda Avenger.

      But here I must admit that I did lapse into some AALS (Adult Autistic Linguistic Stimming) where I still rock and delight, even at age 68, in facile rhymes, clever puns, slogan doggerel and existential slapstick. So please forgive me for attributing Italianness to your genealogy.

        • The Devil you say! How wonderfully Neo-Manichaean of you! Not to mention prescient. You see, for the last 40 years, I’ve been caught up in the goody-goody occultist world of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy, where I started out as a maverick, but then gradually degenerated into a heretic, but recently I hit bottom as an apostate, and just last week, someone on a Steiner Facebook group actually called me a “Son of Ahriman.”

          So thank you, Jasun. I’ve always known there was good reason for Ahriman, but now you’ve given me rhyme to go with that reason!

  3. Big thanks to Heather for bringing out all the info about what Lovecraft really believed, and how that all got distorted for decades. A.C. Clarke thought the ET UFO visitation hysteria during his lifetime was all BS too, though I think he accepted the possibility of visitation past or future. Wonder how many other Sci-Fic authors think the same way? Not WS obviously.

  4. Perhaps a proper understanding of the human condition requires examination of liminal concepts such as the weird and the eerie.

    These two modes will be analysed with reference to the work of authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, …

    https://tenderbooks.co.uk/products/the-weird-and-the-eerie-mark-fisher

    p.16

    Any discussion or weird fiction must begin with Lovecraft.

    “Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large”, Lovecraft wrote to the publisher of the magazine Weird Tales in 1927. “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.” It is this quality of “real externality” that is crucial to the weird.

    The encounter with the outside often ends in breakdown and psychosis. Lovecraft’s stories frequently involve a catastrophic integration of the outside into an interior that is retrospectively revealed to be a delusive envelope, a sham. Take “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, in which it is ultimately revealed that the lead character is himself a Deep One, an aquatic alien entity. I am It – or better, I am They.

    *

    Over the years that pass, [the narrator] begins doing research into his family tree, discovering some disturbing information along the way. …

    “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow_over_Innsmouth

  5. Interesting if uncomfortable listen. All the near-connections become near-misses.

    I wonder if Poirier thinks her initials are just another happenstance, or whether she (like HP) thinks Jung was bunkum?

    Jasun, I have followed you off and on over the years, since reading your writing on Strieber, and this podcast is so interesting and challenging, I really hope you find it worthwhile to keep it going. I cant imagine the discipline that it takes to do a podcast, honestly. I have recommended it to only a couple people because I think most people won’t grok the converging circles of your cosmology and would be kind of flummoxed by it.

    I am particularly interested in your take on Levenda. In this episode, your guest HP seems sort of reactionarily (?) upset by the guy, as Tom M did as well, in his episodes.

    It seems like Levenda inspires this kind of fascinated wariness (at least in myself) that Whitley does. Like Strieber, his patter is extremely sophisticated–though less flexible/adaptive than WS. I remember at age 19 watching Bill Clinton on TV and realizing, to my shock and horror, that I was pretty much buying whatever the hell he was selling–and aware, further, that I would continue to do so in the future. I am not hypnotizeable in the traditional sense but Bill certainly hypnotized me in a way other leaders never did or have.

    I bring this up because Levenda has a similar effect on me! Which makes no sense because I dont really identify him as charismatic per se. But after reading Sinister Forces 1, I spent some months seeking out interviews with him, listening to probably hours and hours of the dude–and, I dunno, sort of getting into his groove? Synching with his worldview (I thought–but his cosmology is slippery, and when you pay better attention you can’t remember really what he said).

    Then recently I actually bought and read his Lovecraft novel. (well, I am 3/4 of the way through, its a slog–I keep going back to it in between my reading of Elie Wiesel’s Night and the Quran, which a doctor of mine gave to me. This nivel of his, man, have you read it? Fiction is clearly not his metier–or what part of this does he want us to think is fiction? I dont want to go further into paranoid territory than necessary, but somethings off with this book (beyond its obvs. lack of a copy editor). It would be hard to explain in even a super long comnent like this one, but if anyone is interested let me know and I will try to offer my thoughts on it in exchange for the thoughts of others who have read it.

    Then I hear on C2C with poor George Knapp (who is fundamentally decent, i am convinced, if occasionally or often a dupe) that PL is working with ol’ “whats my name again” Tom DeLonge and my meter went off big time. The TDL thing has bern fucking weird from jump, I have about ten working theories on that shit, but with Levenda in it, I go full tinfoil hat.

    Anyway, its great to listen to the eclectic topics you bring forward, and great to hear an interviewer who challenges guests in a politr and respectful way–who knew that was possible? Please let us all know your theory on Levenda, if theres writing in the blog I have missed it and would like to catch up.

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