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Horror to Culture, Antichrist Edition

An Update on the Horticulture of Horror

By C. Rommial ButlerPublished 20 days ago 3 min read
From Hieronymous Bosch's "Christ's Descent into Hell"

This is my second article cross-referencing my collaboration with Micheal A. Dyer (a.k.a. MAD) on the Horror to Culture website, (here’s the first) where we explore the horticulture of horror—which is to say, the means by which the shadowy elements of the human psyche are redeemed through the cathartic art of exploration and adaptation.

MAD’s latest podcast explores the treatment of the Antichrist in art, and I contributed my own flash fiction piece, Apocalypse Cow, which I link at the end of this essay because I so loved the picture Mike chose for it that I want to be sure you catch it!

At the end of my story, I add a Rommentary, and from that I cull a thought experiment to share here. I think it might change the way a lot of folks think about how they live their lives, if only they will take the time to think. Here it is:

"Imagine you’re playing one of those open world RPGs—the Elder Scrolls series is my fave, Morrowind to Skyrim anyway—and you suddenly realize that the character, whose every action you direct, nevertheless bears a consciousness completely independent of you.

The character you created believes its own story. It believes it has free will and is making its own choices.

It has no idea you exist, and there is no way you can convince it that you do. No way into the game. You’re stuck on the outside, looking in, knowing that every action you choose for it has an indelible, very real-world consequence for the character, which it will never be able to comprehend as merely the whim of its creator.

Would this knowledge change the way you played the character?”

***** * *****

I often link from Horror to Culture back to my works here and elsewhere, and what I’m doing here is, admittedly, cross-promotion. Yet the ultimate purpose of these endeavors is to grow from those seeds still laden in the darkest and blackest earth that truth which strives to the light.

We recently explored the works of Clive Barker, where I penned an article asking about the ethics of ghost and AI writing while MAD knocked it out of the park on this podcast replete with ample juicy quotes from and details about the life of the iconic author.

I also explored the difficult decisions people must make in my article The Crow and the Winter Soldier, highlighting the way that our beliefs all too often shield us from the knowledge that we aid and abet monsters, referencing the espionage and propaganda techniques of the Cold War in the 20th Century, and the way we as individuals must come to terms with what we’ve wrought.

I’ll take a moment here to mention an ongoing series of stories by Rachel Deeming, The Bag, which is worth checking out. Not sure where she’ll take it, ultimately, but it is well worth the time to peruse, and is cognate with the subject.

I also want to reference, in regard to the subject of Hell, and the various ways we must come to terms with the concept of sin—is there really such a thing?—a story by literary master Neil Gaiman: Other People.

Here’s a free to read version. Here’s Neil reading it with a preamble about how he wrote it.

I take it that the title, which Neil says was the editor’s idea, is a riff on Sartre’s line: “Hell is other people.” It also calls to mind this quote from Nietzsche, who I explored alongside Whitman in these pieces from my book This Tree, excerpted in this essay.

“I believe that he who has divined something of the most fundamental conditions of love, will understand Dante for having written over the door of his Inferno: 'I also am the creation of eternal love.' "

None of this scratches the surface of the depth (of Hell? Of the Abyss? Ultimately, of a Pure Heart?) which Horror to Culture has already created. If our experiment piques your interest, please sign up at the site, check out the facebook page, or join the group for a discussion!

Now, here, for your reading pleasure:

artpop culturemovie reviewfictionbook reviews

About the Creator

C. Rommial Butler

C. Rommial Butler is a writer, musician and philosopher from Indianapolis, IN. His works can be found online through multiple streaming services and booksellers.

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Comments (3)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran19 days ago

    Would this knowledge change the way you played the character?” Nope, I don't think so hahahahahahaha I'm soooo hooked on Rachel's series, The Bag! So happy you mentioned it!

  • Rachel Deeming20 days ago

    Well, thank you for the mention, Rommi. Great title for a story that - Apocalypse Cow. Made me laugh but also enjoyed reading the story. Your stuff is always so twisty turny, can't quite grasp it, like mercury. I like it.

  • ROCK 20 days ago

    I love Neil Gaiman; thanks for the link to his reading. I will head there after checking out "Apocalypse Cow". I am getting a "Yellowstone" meets "Rambo" kind of sensation.

C. Rommial ButlerWritten by C. Rommial Butler

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