Self vs Self in Beyond the Wall of Sleep

  1. lynnfredricks

    lynnfredricks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    163
    "It is not permitted me to tell your waking earth-self of your real self, but we are all roamers of vast spaces and travellers in many ages. Next year I may be dwelling in the dark Egypt which you call ancient, or in the cruel empire of Tsan-Chan which is to come three thousand years hence. You and I have drifted to the worlds that reel about the red Arcturus, and dwelt in the bodies of the insect-philosophers that crawl proudly over the fourth moon of Jupiter. How little does the earth-self know of life and its extent!"

    Id like to toss out this quote for discussion about duality of existence in HPL's stories. Not to limit the discussion but does the entity seem to be implying that some humans have a "real self" and others do not (like the weak willed Joe Slater)?
     
    Sep 5, 2015
    #1
  2. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Messages:
    5,082
    That seems to be the most likely interpretation, which makes this story a Gnostic parable though not intended as such by Lovecraft: there are different orders of men -- the fleshly ones like Slater who have no capacity for the great things, and the pneumatic/"spiritual" ones who may be trapped for a time in the body which, however, has no genuine claim on them. That's my impression. The go-to authors on Gnosticism are (not Pagels but) Hans Jonas or Kurt Rudolph. I have the latter's book but haven't read it.
     
    Sep 6, 2015
    #2
    lynnfredricks likes this.
  3. lynnfredricks

    lynnfredricks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    163

    This brought to mind also a comparison with the Great Race, and their ability to cast their intellects across both time and space. The impression I got from the Great Race though is that they achieved it through the use of some advanced technology, since some are left behind during a new migration.

    Yes, I think there's a likely flavor of gnostic order of being here - with lower forms (like Slater) being without any higher spirit (but still able to be inhabited). The inclusion of the Adversary makes it more interesting. Not only that the Adversary seems to be responsible for forcing the Entity to be enfleshed in Slater, but this Adversary also engenders an intense hatred and desire for revenge for causing it to happen.
     
    Sep 6, 2015
    #3
Loading...

Share This Page