Yesterday, and I can’t find it now, of course, I read a brief paragraph on how Lovecraft’s fiction, even the stuff that doesn’t deal explicitly with race, is bound up in the terror of discovering that you’re not the most important thing in the universe, which is, at heart, a racist terror.
But this is also the thrill of the apocalypse, which we as a nation love, the belief that we are so important that this moment must be unique among all other moments that things cannot possibly go on after us.
I have been trying not to succumb to that kind of thinking, because it it at heart not helpful and untrue.
So, instead, I have been asking myself things like “What does how I’m feeling right now teach me about how people must have felt about X?”
And I think I am, in part, understanding some of the existential terror on the homefront of the Vietnam war–how you can see with your own eyes that something is very, very wrong, but also have to live with the vertigo of so many people trying so hard to insist that, if we all just go along with it and put our faith in institutions and our leaders, everything will be fine. When, obviously, going along with it and having faith in institutions and leaders is getting people killed.
And yet, if we don’t have faith in each other and find ways to work together, what hope do we have?