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Saturday, December 26, 2015

How Lovecraftian Cosmic Terror Applies As A Metaphor For Modern Society


 “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age.”
~ H.P. Lovecraft


It has been mentioned before that my film in progress, The Quantum Terror's cash of creatures are more than just your run of the mill beasts that maim people for kicks, but rather metaphors that speak of the burdens that everyone living in or modern society must bear. For many people who have a cursory knowledge of H.P. Lovecraft, the name evokes images of slimy, tentacled monsters devouring hapless victims, while leaving the survivors to cackle with mad laughter, which in turn dissolves into hysterical tears from the encounter. It's a fair enough generalization, but in this day and age of Cthulhu plush toys and role playing games, I fear that the true implications of an alien terror so vast, so complex, contradictory, and foreign that it causes people to go insane, has been lost on most, especially since we have already encountered such a being. No really, we have. It didn't come from a fallen meteorite, beneath ancient ice, or the briny depths, but from that alternate dimension that is the collective human consciousness.


Maybe, I better step back for a moment. You see, human consciousness is in itself its own dimension. Everything our five senses perceive is not reality, but rather a construct created by our brain, based on the sensory information that our nerve endings, eyes, nose, ear drums, and taste buds have delivered to it. We are living in an imaginary best guess, based on this information, that our mind has built for us, so we can move through three dimensions as efficiently as we can. In truth we can't even be sure that we're moving at all, or that space is three dimensional. (See René Descarte for more about that.) We're flying much more blindly than we believe, and metaphorically speaking (at least we hope it's a metaphor) we've stumbled upon an malevolent parasite that has latched onto our psyche. It's nothing overtly obvious that implanted itself into a single being, like a zombie virus or possessed little girl, but rather it inserted little pieces of itself into each and every one of us, so that it could exist among us all, slowly and methodically eating us whole from the inside out, by overwhelming our personal concept of reality in a poisonous way. Why?

“I think the point is to make us despair; to reject our own humanity, Damien: to see ourselves as ultimately bestial; as ultimately vile and putrescent; without dignity; ugly; unworthy.”
~William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist
 
 Human beings greatest strength is that even in the most cut throat of times, when this Trojan horse in our collective has cased so much destruction, good people can be found who inspire hope and rally others to strive for improvement. Historically, these people have risen above the clamor and shown their fellows the way, not through deception and despair, not through coercion and censorship as so many are want to do these days, but by example, so that we can right the wrongs, or at least rebuild with the intention of doing better next time. 


However, each time this entity returns stronger and more determined then the last, a Hydra like insidious worm akin to that which gets into the brains of cows, causing them to turn in circles until they drop dead or rabies infecting a pack of wild dogs so that they turn on each other. It finds what matters to us most and digs in, driving us apart until we are so consumed with the weight of it all, that we eventually give up and let ourselves fall to ruin.  



Amazingly, I've found that it is this Equestira Girls: Rainbow Rocks song, entitled "You Didn't Know That You Fell" that illustrates this point quite perfectly with its lyrics, but instead of a Siren's song dividing us, it is the cacophony of the dilapidated media and politics, that is perpetuated minute by minute courtesy of social media. We've all been assimilated into it. Indeed, it can't exist without us and the people who profit from it are working hard to make sure we never leave. 


What? You were expecting a giant naked lizard man with an octopus head? While that image is definitely more fun for horror movies, it is those same movies that have ensured that if such a being were to really manifest in our world, our brains will have already been prepared for the image and recognizing the enemy. We'll be ready to fight.




However, this being is far too clever to do something like that. Instead it has attacked us in a way most people never have thought possible, and therefore we would not be able to protect ourselves against, so readily. Rather than overwhelming us with sheer alien incomprehensibility, it overwhelmed us with the incomprehensibility of our own inner world, taking our desire to be moral creatures and hitting it dead on. The younger generation of our current populous has suffered the worst from this attack, because they do not come from a time before everyone carried a device with them that constantly inundates everyone with information and misinformation, 24 hours a day. However, having that frame of reference is not a sure fire inoculation. We were all taken off guard.




Those of us who grew up before the iPhone and Androids never imagined that there would be a worse perpetrator of this deluge than the TV, which we could easily walk away from to continue on with our daily lives. Now we're always plugged in, wherever we go, and so are the mechanisms of our culture. It gives us information on tap and at the touch of a little screen, grants us the capacity to learn things and see places without traveling, but it mixes that great privilege, which no one wants to give up, with superficial things and tells us that no person should be without them. At breakneck speeds it shows us threats and atrocities both real and manufactured for manipulation, and gives us such conflicting information, rewritten history, edited events, propaganda, people arguing, condescending to each other, accusing everyone of racism, holding grudges for things that happened before any of us were born, telling them they're evil for eating meat, not having solar panels, thinking differently then them. It tells them that the environment is being destroyed, terrorists are killing everyone and it's our fault, the economy is crashing, our government is being controlled by corporations, you're greedy for opposing new taxes, the color of your skin invalidates you (or if you're black and you agree with a white person, you're a coon.), your typos invalidate you, your bills are overdue, and on and on and on, and this is coming at you all the time, and the big message is if you're not thinking about it, caring about it, trying with all your might to do the right thing, fix all the planet's problems, and not offend anyone, then YOU are what's wrong with this world. Dare to present another point of view and you will be blocked, ganged up on, ostracized, and labeled a troll. It's passive aggressiveness with all the aggressiveness of World War III. Pass it on. Of course, feel free to absolve yourself when you do. Everyone else does. It's enough to drive anyone to madness in a way that puts any cosmic horror to shame. 



  
And so Cthulhu has risen. Or maybe it's more like the Orwellian bullet to the head (read 1984 to get that reference) wherein here comes the self appointed master to tell you that all of this free will is really what's ailing you. "What you need is to put us in charge." they tell us, "We know better than you. Never mind that we're the ones that built the pyre and fanned the flames." and when we're all beaten and crazy from it all, and agree to their devil's proposition, Cthulhu will have consumed us completely. 



However, unlike the writings of Lovecraft, there is still hope. When enough people learn to question what they're shown, to know when to tune things out, to seek knowledge through the world that the information highway does not show them, but rather go back to experiencing what our five senses show us, we will once again be able to take our lives back from this horror. First we'll have to learn not to fear the cuts and bruises that both our egos and physical bodies will have to endure, to be happy this way. We'll have to learn to live with different points of view and accept when others don't always agree with ours, and also accept that this might not mean that they're bad people. We'll have to be aware that there will always be others willing and wanting to hurt us and be prepared to defend ourselves against them, but we will do it with courage and integrity, rather than crying to some imagined savior, who is really just a salesman or aspiring slave master, minus the tell tale tentacles that would otherwise raise a red flag. 

All of this will be in The Quantum Terror. Don't worry, it will be subtle. We know you don't go to the movies to be preached to, like in this article. I'll leave that to James Cameron when he releases the next Avatar movie. 

As always, thank you!
-Christopher "Moonlight"
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