I propose, with the indulgence of you all, to provoke some discussion of the following thesis: Lovecraft was a Romantic. He was a Romantic because, like Blake (who had very, very different beliefs), he wanted to change the consciousness of his readers. "Readers" refers to readers of his stories and/or of his letters. Lovecraft wanted his readers to accept what has been called his cosmicism. His cosmicism is a form of materialism. But it is not tenable. I propose to offer three threads for discussion, each of which will deal with a factor that should make Lovecraft's thought unsatisfactory to any thoughtful reader. Here is the first of three threads. 1.Lovecraft's Romantic project is unsatisfactory because essential to it is a basic category error. He mixes the quantitative and the qualitative. Perhaps derived from the first few pages of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds, Lovecraft's project forces upon the reader's attention the vastness of the universe (not just its spatial dimension, but its vast age). The earth is less than a speck compared to the inconceivable immensity of the universe. Our own species is a late arrival in an ancient universe. Given these incontrovertible facts, we must accept that we are insignificant. This is fallacious reasoning. The conclusion doesn't follow from the premises. The size and the age of the universe are matters of quantity. But what makes human beings significant is not how big they are or how old they are. If that were true, a six-foot-tall, overweight septuagenarian would be slightly more "significant" than a thin five-foot-tall youngster simply because the former was a little bigger and a little older. Actually, no one ever said -- despite what HPL seems to have implied -- that what makes humans significant or not significant is their size and age. For the sake of argument, though, let's play with this idea that "significance" CAN be a matter of quantity, of size and age. Let us suppose a universe in which an inhabited earth is surrounded by a few thousand miles of space, and that these have come to be within the past 50 years. And this is what IS. Most people would hesitate to say that the earth, in such a universe, is insignificant. Now let's double the size of the surrounding universe and double its age and that of the earth while keeping the age of humanity the same as it was before. Are we NOW ready to say that humanity is insignificant, where it wasn't, before? Most people would hesitate to do so. So we can continue to increase the size and age of the universe and the age of the earth. At what point do we cross the magic threshold, beyond which humanity becomes insignificant? In short, then, the size and age of the universe are completely irrelevant when we are discussing the significance of humanity. I am not saying what does make humanity significant. I am only saying that it's illegitimate rhetoric to write as if what makes humanity significant is the fact that the universe is much older and much bigger than we are. I will suggest something about the significance of humanity in point #2 and #3, to follow. Discuss.