Friday, March 16, 2007

The Old Ones Were, The Old Ones Are

A couple of weeks ago, Roger and I were having a conversation about the nature of the Cthulhu mythos based on this post on his Livejournal, and why exactly Lovecraft's writing was considered "horror." At the time, I did a pretty crummy job summing up the ideas of extreme existential horror in the mythos, but I found a passage this morning (in the d20 Call of Cthulhu sourecbook of all places) that does a great job articulating it:

The cosmos is everything: the universe, the stars, the planets, all forms of life, the physical laws that govern them, and the agendas at work that affect us all. Unfortunately for us, humans didn't create the cosmos, and neither did anything we commonly know. There is no God, no Allah, no Buddha. Humans do not possess immortal souls, and when we die, we are but dust.

Worse, the cosmos does not exist to give us an interesting place within it. It exists to exist. Oiur role within the cosmos is only what we make of it, for in the grand scheme of things, we are irrelevant. Even when we live, we are but dust.

Our vague conceptions of things such as gravity and subatomic particles are but the barest verge of a vast, unknowable whole. Like blind sailors marooned atop an iceberg, we fumble to understand our terrain without guessing the truth: the bulk of our reality lies occluded beneath the surface. More terrible still, it is but a solidary mass drifting without direction in an infinite ocean of mystery. And the ocean is full of monsters.

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