The Indifferentist Laughs

The indifferentist laughs as much at irresponsible calamity-howlers and temperamental melancholiacs as he does at smirking idealists and unctuous woodrowilsonians. For example—nothing makes me more amused than the hypersensitive people who consider life as essentially an agony instead of merely a cursed bore, punctuated by occasional agony and still rarer pleasure. Life is rather depressing because pain and ennui outweigh pleasure; but the pleasure exists, none the less, and can be enjoyed now and then while it lasts. And too—many can build up a crustacean insensitiveness against the subtler forms of pain, so that many lucky individuals have their pain-quota measurably reduced. Uniform melancholy is as illogical as uniform cheer.

DESCRIPTION: In a letter to his friend James F. Morton, Lovecraft describes himself as an indifferentist, a stoic realist rather than an optimist or pessimist.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “To James F. Morton.” 30 Oct. 1929. Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters. Edited by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, Ohio University Press, 2000, pp. 229-31.


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