From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

Odds and ends[edit]

i dont see how this needs a POV marker- it doesn't teach an idea, it explains one. 02:01, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

not too much to copy edit, but some sources would be nice. Corrigann 23:31, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Egad, just cam across this article. It's fine until the ramblings about Eckhardt et. al. kick in. Vitually inconprehensible from there (Eckhardt is an ancient? Compared to whom? What is mainstream "Judeo-XPanity" and what is not? - and what has that got to do with Lovecraft's very well-known and developed atheism? Etc.), and very POV. Using mystical Christianity (poorly) to explain Lovecraft is bizzarre, the amount of very good work done by S. T. Joshi on Lovecraft's atheism should be enough to put that to rest. Plus, the grammar and syntax of the article are unacceptable. I'm teaching a class on Western religious thought in the Spring, when I get a chance I'll happily give bullet-point explanations for why I am going to gut this article, or maybe just revert it to its earlier, smaller, much more on-topic version. Until then, it will have to stand. Morgaledth 01:50, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

The use of mystical Christianity serves as a comparison for an idea or group of ideas which are found present throughout many other systems of thought, both religious and philosophical (Recommended reading - Aldous Huxley's "The Perennial Philosophy"). One could just as easily use the philsosophy of Immanuel Kant or Arthur Schopenhauer, Vedanta Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Gnosticism, and Alchemical Hermeticism in addition to mystical Christianity. Why, I'll even throw in William Blake. The concept of cosmicism goes beyond "theism" and "atheism" - it simply transcends such details in its recognition of Cosmic-Natural Order as transcendent and supreme. Whether Mr. Lovecraft was an official club member of the atheists, deists or polytheists is beside the point. --Unzeitgeist 08:18, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Other Works Section[edit]

This particular article explores Cosmicism. In the Lovecraft article, it says that an example of Cosmicism in other sources might be the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There should be a section in Cosmicism which details known works that examplify this philosophy. For example, The Guide would be fine in literature. As would the Dark Tower (in the end, no one affected anything). In television, the X-Files is a great example of searching for truth and control beyond human reach. In movies The War of the Worlds would be fine... And I know there must be a million other examples of Lovecraft's philosophical influence on artists... I would make this section myself if I a) had more examples and b) knew how to. If someone starts it, I'll be glad to add to it.

Article Revamp[edit]

There, much better. The excised ramblings about Eckhart may have been... um, interesting (read anything actually written by Eckhart scholars and not the stuff you can buy at the New Age bookstore on the corner?), but unless one can cite how HPL drew the connections, and not how some editor draws them, it has no place in an article on Lovecraft's own philosophical/literary theories. That's pretty clear. Such "comparisons" are original research (I use the term loosely...) and cannot be sourced in HPL's work (or Joshi's, either), and the burden of proof is to show why the are relevant. That means quotes, references, works cited, that sort of thing, as per Wikipedia standards. I will limit myself to two statements: one, cosmicism does not "go beyond theism and atheism," it sits very squarely in the atheist camp, all you have to do to see this is read HPL, or Leiber's magnificent essay on HPL's cosmicism. Philosophia perennis finally went out of fashion for this very mistake: it lumps everything together so harmoniously that it completely obscures what the various thinkers actually say in its silly drive to make everyone say the same thing. It didn't respect the diversity of views, and the academy finally realized this. The internet hasn't wised up yet, but thats't the beauty of the internet, you gotta love it. And two, HPL recognized no "Cosmic-Natural-Order," his fictional works and his letters all are quite clear that it is chaos, and not order, and unnatural, not natural, powers that move the chess pieces of the cosmos. If someone can show me HPL discoursing on a Cosmic-Natural-Order that goes beyond theism and atheism, I'd be interested to read it, the paper I write overturning 60 years of HPL studies will be an instant publication! But enough about this, it's unimportant. Since this article is about HPL, I suppgest we all stick to what he says about his own thought, call me crazy. On to constructive matters, maybe the vandalism is finally over:

  • I added and edited some material from the excellent Lovecraft Mythos article on cosmicism, some very good sources there on HPL's disdain of all forms of religion, mainstream or mystery.
  • Added the HPL photo from the HPL article, most philosophy pages have one
  • Added this to the Philosophy WikiProject for added exposure and to help get some more profesional(ish) editors looking at this article, so as to discourage personal use of the page.
  • Along the same lines, reformatted the article in keeping with the style guide.

I'll do more once I've had another look at my copies of HPL's letters, he is a lot more specific about cosmicism there, though of course it's in the stories that we really see it at work. One thing someone coul do is search more more direct HPL quotes, those are probably most useful to an article like this. Morgaledth 03:54, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

THis article has been turned into pseudointellectual mumbojumbo, and reduces the deep meaning of Lovecraft's output. From a Jungian perspective, Lovecraft was a deep religious and philosophical questor, and his various works testify to this need. How could "The Silver Key" and "THE DREAM-QUEST OF UNKNOWN KADATH" be written by a dull modern atheist, along the lines of Bertrand Russel? Simplistically labelling him an "atheist" pure and simple does not convey the real depth of Lovecraft's extragalactic philosophy or the heart-deep intensity of his search for meaning and truth. Lovecraft does not belong to the conventional modern hordes of analytic philosophers, venal Marxist-atheist professors and reductionists. At the least, he should be presented as a Nietzschean 'active nihilist', a sincere struggler after superhuman realities, he belongs beyond the world of modern profane academe and its uninformative, useless procrustean categories.

I agree with the above poster. Morgaledth needs to re-examine the meaning of religion and religiosity in a higher sense, not merely the exoteric form of "religion for the masses" which Lovecraft was acquainted with and for which he did express the utmost disdain. As for your rejecting Lovecraft's belief in a "Cosmic-Natural Order" it completely falls apart once it is considered that Chaos is a part of that Order, and is what some refer to as the demonic or infernal side of the TWO NATURES of cosmic order (the physical and metaphysical). What Lovecraft ultimately presents in his work is a world where the primal forces of CHAOS reign supreme, and all sense of the sacredness of ORDER is lost (much like MODERNITY). --Unzeitgeist 14:58, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Horrible Reductionism[edit]

Simply put, this article represents the trivial-mindedness of an abstract academicist and literalist with no psychological understanding. This article reeks of self-righteous pale academic conformism. Lovecraft was simply not an atheist or materialist as modern people understand these terms. Lovecraft's psychological and ethical level was so high 99% of the species cannot follow him into the visionary profundity and detachment from base humanity he achieved. This article commits the fundamental stupidity of ignoring the traditional religious teaching of the exoteric and esoteric realms. The above poster, Unzeitgeist, is an excellent formulator of thoughts and is right on all points. Most of Lovecraft's stories revolve about the search for Truth at different levels and the various all-too-human responses to Truth's revelations; his tales are mystical journeys in code ('madness' here is part of the process of outgrowing one's mind beyond the apeish loutish commonality) and constitute illuminations into his unique spiritual progress, a progress modern people cannot dare to match in their intoxications with fleshly illusions. Complete disillusionment past democratized pseudo-religion corresponds to the attainment of higher metaphysical consciousness. Lovecraft's genius allowed him to cross over to a higher "esoteric Olympian nihilism", to spheres above the wasteland of materialistic, anthropocentric modernity. Lovecraft was a genuine gnostic seeker of the Grail, a secret Grail-Knight, whose keen nostalgia for the Absolute and wanderlust to explore and conquer extra-mundane, supra-human realities impelled his output. Exoteric-minded, insensitive plebeians have no right to interpret Lovecraft's sublime soul-dramas. Also see:

A few random extracts from Lovecraft to illustrate the utter stupidity of reducing him to an earthly-minded "atheist" or "materialist" in the profane modernist sense:

Why should I fret in microcosmic bonds That chafe the spirit and mind repress, When through the clouds gleam beckoning beyonds Whose shining vistas mock mans littleness.

--"Phaeton" (1918)

[T]he prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of supersight which penetrate the common veil of obvious empricism. "The Tomb"

To shake off the maddening and wearying limitations of time and space and natural law -- to be linked with the vast outside -- to come close to the nighted and abysmal secrets of the infinite and ultimate -- surely such a thing was worth the risk of one's life, soul, and sanity! "The Whisperer in Darkness"

Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon. "Beyond The Wall of Sleep"

The Man of Truth has learned that Illusion is the One Reality, and that Substance is the Great Imposter. "Through the Gates of the Silver Key"

Kuranes was not modern, and did not think like others who wrote. Whilst they strove to strip from life its embroidered robes of myth, and to shew in naked ugliness the foul thing that is reality, Kuranes sought for beauty alone. "Celephaïs"

Mystery hung about it as clouds about a fabulous unvisited mountain; and as Carter stood breathless and expectant on that balustraded parapet there swept up to him the poignancy and suspense of almost-vanished memory, the pain of lost things and the maddening need to place again what once had been an awesome and momentous place. "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"

Calm, lasting beauty comes only in dream, and this solace the world had thrown away when in its worship of the real it threw away the secrets of childhood and innocence...There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine; and from what I know of Carter I think he has merely found a way to traverse these mazes. "The Silver Key"

When the last days were upon me, and the ugly trifles of existence began to drive me to madness like the small drops of water that torturers let fall ceaselessly upon one spot of their victims body, I loved the irradiate refuge of sleep...for doubt and secrecy are the lure of lures, and no new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace. "Ex Oblivione"

Things seen by the inward sight, like those flashing visions which comes as we drift into the blankness of sleep, are more vivid and meaningful to us in that form than when we have sought to weld them with reality...In dreams and visions lie the greatest creations of man, for on them rests no yoke of line or hue. "The Night Ocean"

It is a treadmill, squirrel-trap culture -- drugged and frenzied with the hasheesh of industrial servitude and material luxury. It is wholly a material body-culture, and its symbol is the tiled bathroom and steam radiator rather than the Doric portico and the temple of philosophy.

H.P. Lovecraft. In a letter to Mr. Harris, February 25 to March 1 1929

  • I like how you extend your support for Unzeitgeist and his vocal distain for "pseudointellectual mumbojumbo" and then proceed to make completely unsubstantiative claims about him being a "secret grail knight" - whatever that title is supposed to entail. Not that I disagree with the notion that Lovecraft is not to be categorized with the likes of Marx, but proceeding to throw in your own interpretation of what Lovecraft really felt with the justification that anyone who doesn't subscribe to such an interpretation is clearly an "insensitive plebian" unendowed with your self-prescribed sense of superior analytic capabilities does not do you much justice. The bulk of your statements seem to be comprised, ultimately, of little more than Lovecraft fanboyism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:22, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

In other words, you need to stop masturbating with your writing skills and stop being such an arrogant, condescending jerk. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:42, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Come on folks, no personal attacks! Sigurd Dragon Slayer (talk) 03:54, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

OP: Nearly all of the quotes you use are from the Dream Cycle, which is the more "fantastic" of Lovecraft's period. You completely ignore the Mythos, which is far, far bleaker and clearly supports the information in the current version of the article. Furthermore, many of your claims are unsubstantiated. However, perhaps you read an earlier and less complete version of this article, one that was more "reductionist." (talk) 02:26, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Origin of the word?[edit]

Did Lovecraft himself ever actually use the term "cosmicism" to describe his literary philosophy? If so, where and when did he coin the term? If not, who first used/coined this term to characterize Lovecraft's views? Did S. T. Joshi, whose "Introduction" is cited in the lead, coin it? Did someone else? This is very basic information. It should at least be made clear in the lead whether cosmicism was Lovecraft's own term or whether it was coined by someone else to characterize Lovecraft's ideas and works. InnocuousPseudonym (talk) 07:09, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


Is this really the best word to use since it typically refers to sex between different races of people rather than different species. Jccalhoun (talk) 23:31, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I think it's appropriate. Lovecraft was pretty racist, and I get the impression from his works that he probably thought the former was almost as bad as the latter. Iapetus (talk) 17:09, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Lovecraftian Ideas and Cosmicism[edit]

Much of Lovecraft's ideas are heavily debated as to whether the ideas of cosmicism are truly his own rather than just an interpretation of how his philosophy worked. So, I changed the article to read: BELIEVED to have been adapted and used by writer, HP Lovecraft. I hope that was okay. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Other Cosmic Horror[edit]

Would any of your contributors consider Bordered In Black by Larry Niven to be another literary example of mans place in the Cosmos? —Preceding unsigned comment added by The Ravenholm 7 (talkcontribs) 11:15, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Houellebecq quote[edit]

I could be wrong, but for me, the quote "the human race will disappear (...) Only egotism exists.", coming from Houellebecq's great essay 'HP Lovecraft, Against the World, Against Life', seems in the article to be Lovecraft words, while it is actually from Houellebecq himself. I have the original book in french, and in it Lovecraft quotations all are in italic and with quoting marks, this part isn't. More generally, being familiar with Houellebecq's ideas and style, this looks to me as clearly something Houellebecq is saying (the reference to 'elementary particles' even became the title of his most famous novel later on), I've always assumed he was the one talking there, and I would be really surprised if that wasn't the case. Now he is indeed interpreting the way he thinks Lovecraft's vision of the world was, even if I doubt HPL would have said this in such a radical way. Anyway, it is Houellebecq's view on HPL's thoughts, and while a very interesting and valid one, not necessarily an undisputable one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Matdast (talkcontribs) 23:21, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Too bad this still has not been modified. I insist that the quote is not from Lovecraft himself, but from Houellebecq. I ignore if Andrew Riemer (the author of the source article) also meant that Lovecraft wrote this, but if he did he was wrong. To make it clear, here is the full section in question in Houellebecq's essay (and not just the part of it that appears in Riemer's article) :

“Few beings have ever been so impregnated, pierced to the core, by the conviction of the absolute futility of human aspiration. The universe is nothing but a furtive arrangement of elementary particles. A figure in transition toward chaos. That is what will finally prevail. The human race will disappear. Other races in turn will appear and disappear. The skies will be glacial and empty, traversed by the feeble light of half-dead stars. These too will disappear. Everything will disappear. And human actions are as free and as stripped of meaning as the unfettered movements of the elementary particles. Good, evil, morality, sentiments? Pure ‘Victorian fictions.’ All that exists is egotism. Cold, intact, and radiant.”

As you can see, the section is actually longer and isn't interrupted by any quotation marks : Houellebecq is clearly talking about Lovecraft, he isn't quoting him. Matdast (talk) 22:39, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Hostile to religion?[edit]

Lovecraft wasn't exactly "hostile to religion". He believed it was false, but some of his writing and letters very strongly imply that he believed it was useful for society. "Hostile to religion" seems to imply that he would want religion not to exist, and that wasn't the case. The idea is that these things - while objectively false - are still necessary for people. (talk) 01:13, 7 October 2009 (UTC)


Yeah, this is this article's most glaring and obnoxious weakness, egregiously neglected for unknown, probably "editorial" (i.e. non-rational, in-group faction) reasons.

I could cite a million words from both Lovecraft's fiction and letters showing his understanding of religion is not at all the simplistic picture presented here. Honestly, this sounds like how the Stalinist Soviet encyclopedia might spin Lovecraft, but Wikipedia is different, right? RIGHT?

Not only did Lovecraft wish for religion to exist for the mass of mankind for purposes of cultural entrainment and sublimation, Lovecraft himself PHILOSOPHICALLY did not stay absolutely STATIC in so-called "mechanistic materialism" as this poorly edited and poorly written article implies and I can provisionally say the problem is similar to "EINSTEIN AND RELIGION" -- Einstein was a mystical transcendendalist of Spinozist-Schopenhauerian type, not some pedestrian, "bright" atheist of contemporaneous type, influenced by Marx, etc., etc.

Lovecraft metaphysically deserves higher and more critical, more dispassionate treatment here...! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Cosmicism Vs. Absurdism[edit]

Are the two philosophical outlooks actually the same? Both cosmicism and absurdism countenance inherent meaning, although this, if it does exist, is almost certainly incomprehensible to the human. Can someone provide a distinction within the text, in much the same vein as the one between nihilism and cosmicism? (talk) 08:12, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Where to start?[edit]

Do all proponents of the article as it stands want me to cite Lovecraft himself or other critics and analysts as to the metaphysical-spiritual-religious meaning or meaningfulness to his worldview?

Where do I start, in other words?

Do I have to academically tear down any idolatry of the figure of S.T. Joshi first?

I want this article (and associated) to merely be responsibly objective, neither anti-religious nor pro-religious but reflective of the REALITY of Lovecraft's way of seeing things, his philosophy, whatever terms are employed... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

to answer your question, wikipedia asks for peer reviewed secondary or tertiary sources when writing articles. Citing Lovecraft himself would be original research. Objectivity is established by having the information within the article reflect both the content and frequency of the body of reliable sources. Cheers! Coffeepusher (talk) 14:03, 4 February 2014 (UTC)


There does not seem to be any academic support or consensus for the idea of "cosmicism" as an actual philosophy. Given the sparcity of sources regarding this vaguely defined term, it would probably be best to merge it into a parent subject article unless notability on its own merit can be established. There definitely are not enough sources at the moment and the writing is terrible, so at the very least should be rewritten to more closely adhere to proper sources. Laval (talk) 11:39, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Three years later and no action has been taken. The whole article seems like a personal essay. There is almost no sources. Ashmoo (talk) 09:33, 10 November 2017 (UTC)