Burzum And Lovecraft: The Fantasy Of Mortals

varg_vikernes

In an interview from the already late days of black metal, Varg Vikernes assessed his musical intent as a pursuit of fantasy:

I see Burzum as a dream without holds in reality. It is to stimulate the fantasy of mortals, to make them dream.

This seems puzzling because metalheads are notorious realists, and yet our music emphasizes the mythological, metaphorical and epic in the same way Romantic poetry did: emphasizing the imagination and knowledge of the inner self to know the world more accurately than detail-based science, popularity, money and mass opinion can tell us.

One of the great influences on metal has been the writer Howard Philips Lovecraft whose work emphasized a similar dream-like reality in which the unreal comes alive and forces a confrontation between the protagonist and this new dimension to reality.

As in all good horror fiction, the struggle is first in the individual to trust what he sees and accept that it is real, and then secondarily, in convincing a group or some of it to work together to escape it or defeat it. This reveals humanity as a struggle against its own underconfidence and groupthink in order to know the self enough to be able to recognize what is going on in the world when it collides with our social and moral way of thinking.

French anti-liberal writer Michel Houellebecq provides an insight into the mindset of Lovecraft regarding fantasy:

Now, here is Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937): “I am so beastly tired of mankind and the world that nothing can interest me unless it contains a couple of murders on each page or deals with the horrors unnameable and unaccountable that leer down from the external universes.” We need a supreme antidote against all forms of realism.

Our lives are filled with social opinions that amount to a type of mind control through peer pressure. The newspapers, professors, politicians and leaders of industry tell us the same thing, but in our inner being we feel that something of meaning is lost, so we must stimulate that internal wakefulness by peering beyond the oneiric horizons to discover in the metaphor therein what we would prefer.

Houellbecq and Vikernes come from the same experience, and it is not surprising that they have a similar root to their opinions:

The attack, such as it is–the tone never rises (or descends) to the level of polemic or panegyric, as if the author were painfully aware that to raise his voice in such a context, and with everyone watching, would only inflame the passions of the herd–is an attack on individualism, on liberal democracy, on enlightment and reason, ideas nurtured more than two centuries ago on this same French soil.

In this perspective, the Enlightenment reliance on “reason” (rationalism) hides more than it uncovers, and simultaneously, because we rely on it, weakens our reliance on ourselves and our inner compasses. Instead, there is a giant herd following itself in a circle, repeating the same assumptions and still feeling unnerved and unfulfilled.

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15 thoughts on “Burzum And Lovecraft: The Fantasy Of Mortals”

  1. Svmmoned says:

    I used to say that Burzum is musical equivalent to Lovecraft. Effective and deep simplicity, which is often dissmised as unskillfulness. And Houllebecq’s essay shows not only that he understand Lovecraft and his nihilism, but that they are soulmates. They are united by that certain quality, which – despite different forms – one recognize unmistakably even through most distant spaces and times.

  2. Deport All Hipsters says:

    Varg is so cute. No wonder he got a hot French wife.

  3. C.M. says:

    >Instead, there is a giant herd following itself in a circle, repeating the same assumptions and still feeling unnerved and unfulfilled.

    This is what I try to tell people when the subject of “progress” comes up. They have bought into the idea that humanity is continually progressing since they can buy smaller computers than they could twenty years ago. They are obsessively arrogant to assume that humanity at large is now more knowledgeable and civilized than they were back when we were racially segregated, or lived without electricity, or sacrificed people, or fought to the death for sport. The notion of progress is the biggest scam since the financial debt-based economy.

    1. Vigilance says:

      The hell it is a scam. We’ll bore out the planet using our fingernails to create a computer network out of water and carrier pigeon bones. Emissions free internet. That’s progress.

      1. C.M. says:

        >carrier pigeon bones

        Carrier pigeons will be the new social media!

        *coo, coo*

        Hang on a sec, gotta check my notifications.

    2. Our technologies improve, but do we? Not unless we exert qualitative pressure, which is conveniently the opposite of progress, which is a quantitative measure (choose new quantities over past ones).

      1. C.M. says:

        >improve

        If the technology makes us less active, less apt to plan, less able to develop complex methods to achieve long-term goals, is it really improving?

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          Did you know that the technology originally (at least that’s the oldest example I know of) thought to cause this was the printing press, envisioned to turn people into terribly short-sighted & pale couch potatoes who read all day instead of having a life? Like the good-old-times-which-never-were, that’s a real classic.

          1. Rainer Weikusat says:

            Addition: This supplies We don’t! as answer to the question.

            See also the strange ritual of people gathering around open fires in order to roast meat and consume some quantities of inebriating beverages.

          2. C.M. says:

            Did the printing press actually have that effect though? Do iPhones?

            1. Rainer Weikusat says:

              Misantrophic statement: As far as I can tell, the reason why the overwhelming majority of people have heads is that their haircuts would look really silly if they sat directly on the neck. What spiritual damage could an iPhone possibly to do them?

  4. snaggletooth says:

    TRUTH :::::::::::::::
    “Our lives are filled with social opinions that amount to a type of mind control through peer pressure. The newspapers, professors, politicians and leaders of industry tell us the same thing, but in our inner being we feel that something of meaning is lost, so we must stimulate that internal wakefulness by peering beyond the oneiric horizons to discover in the metaphor therein what we would prefer”

  5. El says:

    Never thought i’d see the name of Houellebecq on dmu

    1. squishy crackers that got rained on says:

      if i remember correctly he was a recommended read on ANUS

  6. Internatio reloaded says:

    Houellebecq is a boring read if there ever was one thou.

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