As Deuce said in a personal memo, “stream of consciousness/free association.. with vague references to Howard” does not a Howard post make. It’s true I’m not that well-read on Howard but I am a great fan, so am gonna tie it into a Howardesque bundle in Weird 9.
The very big connection with all the preceding is that progress is steadily emptying the unconscious of Man. That means all the myths, all the Dionysian urges, all the Apollonian visions. Everything apart from reason and feeling (hence my centring on those two aspects in the last several chapters).
This is nothing to do with solipsism; I’ve read Byron (all of Don Juan), some Nietzsche (Thus Sprach Zarathustra), plus various philsosophers from Kant to Emerson to Heidegger to Rand. All of philosophy (apart from phenomenolgy, as seen in Dark Star) and the whole of classical tragedy is to do with the content of the uncosncious. Freud is just an also-ran here.
That is what we are. The future we are approaching is a pleasure-droid and a machine-intelligence (pleasure and reason). This future is being sold by silicon valley, via the media, as a rational electric-green happy-land, when it’s actually the apocalypse itself and the land of ego-misrule triumphantly trampling on Mother Earth while laughing in a lopsided grin.
I tie-in these rational dreamers with Howard’s ram’s horned Thoth Amon (and Lovecraft CH4). Yes, there is a vagueness there, but Howard along with other pulp fantasists and the 30s Junto were writing about the power and majesty of the human unconscious. The ego-demons are out to dismantle and eject the free unconscious to have it subservient to their wills (“facts”).
That is a statement, but you can go back over Weird 1-8 to check that it is quite thoroughly referenced and quoted. What’s left is to tie-it to Howard. I am not one who is ultra-precise so you’ll just have to make up your own minds. The worlds that he favoured have a dark gaeity, a type oft-called berserker, a type not unlike what we often perceive as the knight of yore, carrying in his heart and chest the best of man’s heroic soul.
Knights, as with Gottfried von Kalmbach in Shadow of the Vulture, are oft bedraggled, ill-girdled specimens having seen-off many encounters on their oft-lonely travels. Their heroic speech is well-worn as in this quote from Seahorse in the Sky by Edmund Cooper
“In the name of the white queen and the black, I command you. Return to the dark earth whence you came.. Whether you be man, ghost or demon.. Whoso dares to disgrace me may, in the end, need many squadrons of lances to preserve him.” (page 52-55)
There is much in heroic speech that is of the spirit; in the world they are really lost without these shadowy images to protect or mayhap disgrace them. Conan is likewise surrounded by shadowy images; he wanders the vast world of the unconscious with its instinstive urges and sacred visions. He may profess not to be a great believer, but that is the dark world he travels. Its strength is his strength. Its “billion year old carbon” (Joni Mitchell).
That is the great big difference between the Junto and Weird Tales heroes and the emptiness of a world of pleasure and reason. The forebodings of 30s Weird Tales; the sensual uprisings of 67 San Fran; the future is not preordained and the soul of America is great. There’s nothing like a Harley-Davidson tourer’s magnificent knightly machinery.
What I’m saying is this bmay not be all about Howard, but the world of Howard is not all in the past; there is an alternate future of boldness and knightly quests, and that future contains Man’s immortal soul, and there is a darkness there. The “billion year old carbon” is what we are and is what the powers that be are trying to eradicate from human history. We shall be as one with the machine. No.
WOODSTOCK (CATHY RICHARDSON PROJECT)