Finding My Religion

I’m fascinated by the people who think that when creative types come up with an elaborate mythology, that they could be inspired by real forces and be somehow channeling truth.

We see writers invent entire worlds and systems of belief all the time. Read a fantasy book. Odds are you’ll find a new religion, a place that’s shaped differently than but resembles a continent we’re familiar with, and a history that is reminiscent of events of our history with fictional families and leaders. Sure, it takes a little bit of thinking, a lot of planning, and the wherewithal to keep things straight, but it’s not an extraordinary ability in and of itself.

So, I ask you, how likely is it that H.P. Lovecraft was actually (and without his own knowledge) linked to a pipeline of divine truth about the Old Ones from beyond the stars and Cthulu sleeping under the sea in R’lyeh? Do you think such powerful (and other-dimensional) beasts would trouble letting some guy in Brooklyn know that they are eventually returning? Why warn the meat-suits you’re just going to terrorize and subjugate with shoggoths?

This is also my big beef with Scientology. It’s not a new argument. The guy. Wrote. Science Fiction. And then claimed to have discovered the “truth” about how an alien called Xeno freeze-dried some alien souls and popped them in a volcano and they attached themselves to humans*?

Sometimes your imagination can be so powerful that you can convince yourself that something is real. Have you ever had a conversation with someone in your head, then forgotten that it didn’t really happen and call them out on something the fantasy-them said? (Is that just me?) And writers often feel like the words they write are coming from beyond themselves. They’re in the zone, gifted by the Muse, whatever you want to think of it. Hey, far be it from me to say there isn’t some source of creativity out there that helps writers and actors and singers out from time to time. That would be fantastic. I won’t even write it off as a possibility. But just as people should be suspicious of sudden religious visions or voices, they shouldn’t suddenly start taking the stuff they make up when they’re writing as inspired truth. I think you need a little more evidence than “but it felt like I wasn’t even coming up with it!” before you can claim that.

Well, except for one case. Because I really do believe that the society of mouse-sized velociraptors I’ve been day-dreaming about will give us those telepathic powers they’ve been promising.

 

 

*See the “Trapped in the Closet” episode of South Park. These are actual Scientology precepts.

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