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An Eldritch Abomination is, as one of defining traits, Inconceivable, not just something unfamiliar, but an insane mockery of natural law altogether. Come down to the animal world, where species use basically the same behavior patterns for ages. A usual predator will have his senses, his muscles, one, two built-in weapons and some tenth' offensive maneuvers at all in his arsenal, mostly relying on less then that. He, or his prey, will also have about the same limited amount of countermeasures, that again stay the same across generations, while being determined by natural selection if his species is the fittest and maintaining the overall balance of the ecosystem. Here comes the Inconceivable: it's one giant melee fang (and probably a sturdy carapace) in the morning, no such fang but a tamed fire that kills from afar in the afternoon, warping the world, natural selection and the laws of the universe themselves so that Everything Is Trying to Kill You, and if nothing of that works, expect a full new bag of tricks tomorrow, and another after that, and another. We're talking what, hundreds, thousands of weapons and absolute uncountable amount of patterns, all wielded by one squishy species and changed at will? This is madness! (Yes, yes, we know.This. Is. Humanity!)
According to HP Lovecraft, some of the defining characteristics of Eldritch Abominations are that they are inherently unnatural and uncaring. Humans not only disrupt ecosystems and destroy habitats with their very presence, but have accidentally exterminated so many species that we lost count. Until we had the ecological conscience we have now, we were just like the Old Ones. Even after that, the fact that we care at all is something unusual. Humans are generally the only species that will do something for another species completely at our own will and without expecting anything in return. This is pretty much the opposite of the above. If animals could truly grasp this concept, it would likely blow their minds, but humans who will be kind to animals must be borderline angelic through their eyes. Some strange creatures just made sure their life would continue or gave them food for reasons they will never understand, and that is to assume that there really is a reason behind it. While we may be effectively Eldritch Abominations in the eyes of wild species, at the very least we'll often be fairly benevolent while we're at it.
We, as a species, are somewhat nice right up to the moment when we are either threatened or starving. That's when everything has just become a weapon.
Actually animals getting along well and being affectionate with each other outside of naturally evolved symbiotic relationships has been observed on occasion... but only in captivity, as far as I know.
We shape the development and population of farm animals, so that we can consume them. Just like the Great Old Ones.
Imagine you're a deer in the forest. You come across something that blends in with its surroundings, can imitate your voice, and fires from the trees an immensely powerful weapon you can't fathom. If you come across one of your species that has encountered it, you'll find they have been horribly mutilated and parts are missing, taken as trophies. That's right, humans are The Predator.
What's scariest of all for a deer is that humans don't "play by the rules" when they hunt, or at least, not by any rules that animals would recognize. Your average predator — wolves, bears, etc. — will go for the easy kill, cutting the slowest or weakest from the herd. Humans don't do that. Humans have the means — and in the case of a sport hunter, the motivation — to kill the strongest member of the herd. Imagine being the alpha male stag of your herd. You're fast enough to outrun most of the predators in your world, and if need be, big enough and strong enough to fend them off. Not only is that of no use against a human hunter, but in fact, being the biggest and strongest makes you a target, because you'll make a nice trophy on the hunter's wall and a nice story for him to tell his buddies over drinks. Think of how little sense that makes to a deer. And most likely, the deer won't even see this incomprehensible predator coming; just a loud noise, a sharp pain in the shoulder, and it's over. Millions of years of natural selection have been turned upside down overnight by big game hunting, to the point where being smaller and weakeris now an evolutionary advantage for many game animals.
To large, dangerous animals, or animals that use venom, humans would be Squishy Wizards, but no less eldritch. Yes, the humans can warp the environment to their whim, kill from a distance, turn night into day and make fire, but get in close enough to use claws, fangs or poison, and they die like any other prey... Yet they quickly find that, in by doing so, they would ruin their reputation to the world forever and have invoked the wrath of these mysterious beings who would have normally left them to their own devices. These beings can hold grudges forever. The predator then becomes the prey as these animals realize with growing horror that they are being hunted by countless Super Persistent Predatorswhose single-minded goal is to end their lives with extreme prejudice, almost always from a distance where there is no chance at all for retaliation by the animal. There is no negotiation, no quarter, and no mercy. These beings will not stop until they have their revenge... No matter how long it takes. Even if larger or venomous animals could take down a single human (and there are many of them that could), they probably won't. Most animals—even big freakin' predators like bears and sharks—place humans high on their "DO NOT TOUCH" list. They might observe us, they might even put on a show to try and scare us; but when push comes to shove, most animals are hesitant to attack us unless we provoke them first. They know better than to willingly pick a fight with Cthulhu.
To animals, the human body itself is probably almost irrelevant, considering how many "bodies" we can just put on, including:
Think of how pets like dogs might see us, if they had language and our ability to compare things. We bring foods that they would never see and demand that they perform in unnatural ways, take them to have their hides ruffled and worked over with sharp instruments, bring them to trot in circles and be examined, the vet, the kennel. Some might manage to "dominate" their owners, but they don't know how to be alpha to humans and get stressed out, and if they do a very dog thing and bite, we do not allow them to live.
Of course, it's not that we make them act in unnatural ways. All dog behaviors are natural behaviors they already did on their own. However, we generally ask them to either do them at 'inappropriate' times or they are puppy behaviors that we ask them not to unlearn when they mature. It would be more appropriate to say that we ask them to act like Cloud Cuckoo Lander toddlers.
Although, given the side-effect of domestication known as neoteny, they essentially are infants (well, juveniles) that never grow up.
This is why it's so important for a dog owner to learn to "speak dog". If you can read a dog's body language and use it back at them, things get so much easier!
Bear in mind that we took wolves and bred them to create dogs in the first place. Unlike with other tamed animals the behaviours we look for aren't any more unnatural than the dogs themselves, they're the ones we bred for.
Then again the reason we keep them around (nowadays at least, when they aren't working dogs) is because of their comforting loyalty and easily met needs, compared to neurotic self-centred humans. Some people keep them because they get a kick out of dominating another being's life, but not most people.
They probably respect and are intimidated by us. After all, a good hunting day for a dog is catching a rabbit or bird and chowing down. A human goes out "hunting" (actually going to the grocery store), and in 1/2 an hour returns with generous portions of Pork, Chicken, Beef, Eggs, and enough food to feed a dog for weeks. They probably think we're the greatest hunters in the world!
Cats, on the other hand, seem to see us as rather like elephants. Big, useful, potentially dangerous, but somehow rather goofy.
The big cats (including lions) that once lived in Europe and Asia probably thought we are goofy, too, until they were all hunted down with just bows, arrows and spears.
Worth noting that 10,000 years ago, lions and humans were sharing the same position for "dominant land mammal" on Earth. Today we're overpopulating the planet and they're making a fast trip through the endangered species list.
And of course, there's the pampering, hugging, playing, giving treats and making a huge fuss over the pet when it does something right aspect of the relationship as well. Godlike-beings we may be, but in healthy human-pet relationships it's certainly not an unloving/unloved one.
Best summed up in this joke:
Dog: You feed me, you love me, you take care of my every need. YOU MUST BE A GOD! Cat: You feed me, you love me, you take care of my every need. I MUST BE A GOD!
Think about something else from the perspective of our cats and dogs, we, as super predators, are making them super predators on a much smaller scale. House cats alone are effectively miniature tigers that are immune or resistant to most common diseases, fed by their owners to ensure that they won't starve, given shelter to make sure even larger predators can't get them, and given treatment in case their prey actually does manage to hurt them. House cats alone have a tendency to do massive damage to the populations of small animal species. Think about the fact that, while you let your sweet little Mittens out for his daily house cat walk, he's probably enacting a campaign of miniature genocide against the local bird population.
Most wild land animals that have had prolonged exposure to humans treat them with fear and respect. The exception is zoo or reserve animals that are frequently handled by humans directly.
Urban pest species such as rats or pigeons would feel this trope even more strongly, in that our actions are inscrutable as well as miraculous. One minute we're dumping tasty garbage and bread crumbs for them to chow down on, the next we're exterminating them with poisons, traps, and deadly predators (dogs, cats, ferrets) that slavishly do our bidding.
You know those old stories about people taking food from The Fair Folkand being trapped in their realms forever? Well, that happens to animals, too. Animals that take food from humans learn to depend on them, and forget how to find food on their own. Or worse, they are lured to their deaths by humans who take advantage of their complacency.
Fishing is like a near-death experience for small fish. They get fed, go up into a white light where they can't breathe and see all their dead relatives around them. Then, a great voice says "Nah, too small. Throw 'im back."
Jeff Foxworthy joked that catch-and-release must be the fish version of the near death experience. "I was surrounded by my dead relatives. And I saw God. He was wearing a flannel shirt and a Budweiser cap. He told me it was not my time and threw me back."
Imagine the thoughts of a pet fish. You're in a relatively small environment, and only invisible walls protect you from the unbreathable air. Strange apes stop just beyond these walls, and do little more than stare at you for no apparent reason. Once or twice a day, food mysteriously rains from the sky. There's also this strange contraption that pulls in a current and spits out bubbles. Then every once in a while, one of the strange monkeys actually sticks their hand in the water, bringing a strange tube that drains the water, making the already small environment even smaller. Just when it seems dangerous, fresh water is put back in. Also, if a friend dies, they are caught by a green net where they ascend beyond the water into the great beyond. No wonder it's so common for them to stress out and die.
There are countries where monkey brains are considered a delicacy. For the monkeys, it's like the plot of some stupid old alien movie: creatures from far far away, with powers far beyond the monkeys' comprehension, abduct them to actually eat their brains!
Even today, in the more severe cases of Does Not Like Men and He-Man Woman Hater, it might end up sounding like "Men Are Cthulhu" or "Women Are Cthulhu," especially when they start talking about possibly just becoming gender separatists.
A commentary on Alien Abduction notes that what aliens allegedly do to people (sneak up on them at night, carry them into mysterious vehicles, and perform incomprehensible and invasive medical procedures, often leaving some kind of implant in the body), and what demons supposedly did back when people believed in things like incubi and succubi, can seem very similar to what our scientists do to animals in the wild.
It also suggests that the abducting aliens are bumbling incompetents, as causing more than the absolute minimum of stress in wild animals is always undesirable, from the standpoint of valid field research. (Otherwise, you're just learning about abnormal animal behaviors, not natural ones.) Yet many abductees claim — even boast — that they get snatched over and over again, despite becoming complete basket cases from their alleged experiences.
Another thing, if Aliens exist and are watching us, they're probably listing down the reasons they're superior.
Alternatively, there could be a tiny minority of people who are prone to remembering the abductions and the vast VAST majority of people never know they happen at all.
Another alternative is that the point of the tests for those who remember are to see what kind of abnormal behaviour crops up. As long as it is only a few and actual evidence is not present, it would be fairly safe, and if the normal behaviour have already been studied, why not?
This would be a case of humans being too smart for their own good. For instance, abducting an animal with intent to document a few things and release it into the wild produces little long term stress because the animal can't even really comprehend or care what happened to it. From its perspective, all that happened was a potential predator captured it, and then it got away...somehow. And life goes on. They don't have long term memory or the reasoning skills to comprehend they were "abducted by aliens". Humans on the other hand, you can't introduce anything alien to us without us freaking out precisely because we "know" we are the most superior and anything more advanced than us is just wrong.
Naturally, we have yet to discover aliens. However there's a lot of research dedicated to learning what kinds of alien life can conceivably exist, so long as the basic laws of molecular biology as we understand it apply throughout the cosmos. This line of thought introduces ideas such as aliens that require ammonia or formaldehyde instead of water and using nitrogen or phosphorus instead of carbon. However the type of environmental conditions for such elements and chemicals to sustain the basic principles of cellular life, as we understand it, are quite bizarre. How does this fit the trope? Well depending on the "alternative combinations" involved, to these theoretical life forms: our homeworld becomes a boiling vat of caustic gasses, the liquids that flow through our veins are flesh melting corrosive acids, the atmospheric pressure we move gracefully through would crush their skeletons (endo or exo) into paste, and the mere sound of our voice could rupture organs (it being a form of kinetic energy).
Oxygen is one of the most corrosive elements in the known universe, second only to fluorine. And we breathe it. It already caused a near-extinction of ancient anaerobic bacteria that didn't learn to use this deadly poison in their biochemistry; not many species of anaerobes persist to this day, compared to the Proterozoan aeon.
Also, our two most common beverages are water and alcohol. They are also our two most used industrial solvents.
Alcohol is also an incredibly deadly neurotoxin that can exterminate thousands of organisms in multiple states of complexity with just the slightest touch. As the other Troper said, "we drink it." For fun.
4 of the 6 most common elements in the Universe are Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, and Iron (in that order). #2 is Helium and #5 is Neon, and both are inert. Life as we know it needs all four non-inert ones. Most alternate forms of life we imagine that aren't Carbon-based would need chemistry that uses Lithium in place of Hydrogen, Silicon in place of Carbon, Sulphur in place of Oxygen, and/or Phosphorous in place of Nitrogen along with very high temperatures and a near total absence of both Hydrogen and Oxygen.
Of course, the environment of those aliens would be just as deadly to us as ours is to them...
Skunks' major defense is their stink gland. Skunks' most common cause of premature death in developed areas is getting run over by a car. Cars, of course, are exclusively engineered, built, maintained and driven by humans. What human has ever smelled skunk stink while driving and thought "I'd better stop the car"?
Generally by the time the driver can smell it, it's already too late for the skunk (and, by the way, the car).
Talking birds (parrots, for instance): To put it succinctly, what we hear as "Polly want a cracker" is probably "IA IA HUMANS FHTAGN" to themselves and other animals. In other words, parrots and other talking birds are the "dark cultists" of the animal world.
Similarly, what do birds think of human music? Even wind instruments like flutes probably sound like close, but "off", birdsong. Other instruments are probably perceived as outright Black Speech.
You're a bird, flapping along, enjoying your first good thermal of the day, when you hear a rumbling in the distance. Before you can turn to see what it is, the rumbling becomes a roar and a vortex seizes you, tossing you around. The last thing you see are blades. Congratulations, you just became bird strike.
Same for animals that become roadkill, or manatees that get hit by boats.
Only most animals killed by land/sea motor-vehicles don't send the passengers hurtling to their deaths... (Note: Dumpsters and landfills should be kept far away from airports. Really far away.)
Deer, however, can and do destroy vehicles that hit them and (less frequently) kill the occupants. This isn't just the big ones like moose, smaller ones like white tails and mule deer can do it too.
A bird flying against a glass window. Freaky invisible barrier!
Man also possesses the ability to wear products made from dead animals, making him one of the Face Stealers of the animal kingdom, like the nudibranch and hermit crabs. But instead of the nudibranch's usage of assimilating jellyfish or the hermit crab's obvious naturality, the skins that humans wear are instead transformed into numerous varieties that are totally unrecognisable from where they came.
Isn't it very uncanny that the octopus, the Cthulhu of the animal kingdom, is our food?
Speaking of octopi, imagine being the octopus in the aquarium. You were just fine chilling in the sea, until suddenly a giant lattice comes out from the heavens and encapsulates you. You find yourself in what appears to be a small chunk of the sea. A force field is all that seperates you from a world you're unfamilar with. If you squint, you may see some other sea creatures. Your captors are like no living thing you've ever seen. The only thing remotely similar is the prescence of a fish-like mouth and eyes. Unlike most examples, you have the intellect to be confused and try to figure out what is going on. And, if you try and flee, you find it impossible for you to breath. These...things with four vaugely tentacle-like appendages, somehow don't need water. Humans Are The Alien Invader, travelling from beyond the sky and living in the airless void. And thenyou discoverthe sky.
Imagine that you are a whale that has accidentally beached itself. In this unforgiving enviroment, you are unable to even move, and will eventually dehydrate and suffocate to death, crushed under your own weight. Suddenly, you're surrounded by dozens of strange-looking creatures, effortlessly skittering around on their spindly appendages without any water to hold them up! They can move water outside of water, and they command great growling beasts strong enough to lift whales! And throughout this all, they touch you and rub you with their gangly limbs, and make strange babbling noises with their blowholes, as if they were trying to communicate... Kindly creatures as well, considering how much effort they put into to getting you back into the water.
Just think about what the whale would do after it was released back into the ocean. It would probably tell its pod-mates about the experience, and they'd just think he was crazy, similar to most people who tell their friends and family about an alien abduction: "Hey guys, you won't believe what happened. I was just going up to the surface for a breath of fresh air when I fell into the Great Beyond. It was awful, there was no water, I couldn't stand up, and I nearly died. But then I was rescued by...The Gods! They walked upright and floated effortlessly across the surface with no water to hold them up. They spoke through their blowholes and told me it was not my time, so they returned me to my own realm." (Cue sudden burst of laughter from pod-mates)
Mosquitoes have extremely poor sight, instead relying on their ability to smell chemicals and detect body heat to find food. Insect repellent eliminates the odors, but leaves the heat detectable. From the mosquito's point of view, this means that a giant torch is walking around. Yikes.
To be fair, mosquitoes are antropophages. (Not all, but those that arenít donít really have much to do with people.) So this trope doesnít match exactly, as people nibbling on Chtulu are quite rare in stories. (Weíre more like the whale in Sinbad the Sailorís first voyage.) Also, Iím pretty sure things that are around 36įC and donít smell arenít that uncommon around the period mosquitos are active. (Heating from the sun and cooling after sunset are both non-uniform, so it isnít hard for, say, a boulder to be at 36įC surrounded by grass at 20įC. At least for a while, and mosquitos donít have a very big attention span probably.)
I think most animals that live in zoos just get used to it after a while, so eventually they would think nothing of the bizarre creatures watching them from the beyond, and would just resume their daily activities. They'd probably stop worrying about these things that are beyond their control.
Consider the human brain for a moment. It is capable of conceptualizing things beyond what we can see and feel, can create false realities inside itself when we are asleep, and apparently has a memory storage capacity that exceeds the natural human lifespan by several orders of magnitude, such that we will never know just how much information it can hold until we can live several hundred years or more. The human brain can also act on a whim without any need for instinct, ignore logic when it feels like it, and say one thing and do something else without us even realizing it until it's already happened. On top of that, the human brain is perfectly capable of being fully aware it's doing all of those things and even plans for it. It has functions that exceed our needs as a species significantly, seemingly only to taunt us with how little we understand about it and just daring us to push ourselves further to make use of those functions, only to show us something else we didn't know we could do later on.
All these experiences of animals must be multiplied a thousand-fold when applied to bacteria, viruses, or single-celled lifeforms. Imagine that you are a bacteria, going about your business, when all of a sudden, an unstoppable, unfathomable force comes from above and wipes out thousands, millions, even billions of your kind. Little do you realize that gigantic creatures, practically from another dimension, have unleashed a weapon upon you for unknowingly harming them. The very world you live in is trying to kill you!
Thatís closer to ďHumans are GaiaĒ. For generations you have neglected your impact on your environment, and your people have multiplied without restraint. Your environment either collapses, or it fights back.
Consider what a human must seem like to an ant. A creature of such incomprehensible vastness that its mere foot is enough to block out the sun and crush dozens to death with a single blow. Were an ant able to see a human, whole and entire, the sheer Otherness of our form would break its tiny insect mind: to a creature with an exoskeleton, we must seem disturbingly inside out, with our fleshy exteriors and strange sensory organs that are little more than intricate holes in our heads. And worst of all is our indifference. We step on ants all the time and think nothing of it. Sometimes we kill them without even realizing it, blundering through fields or moving on sidewalks. In general, humans bear ants no malice; ants are too insignificant to merit such feelings. Humans simply move through the universe, aware of little beyond their own unknowable concerns, and ants die because they get in the way.
That's not even the half of it. Ants probably see any animal bigger than a foot tall this way. At least we don't prey on ants or knowingly hurt them (not most of the time anyway), whereas other creatures that would appear Cthulhu to them, such as small birds, actively prey on them. So ants live in a world filled with abominations, many of which are knowingly malevolent and try to harm them. I'm beginning to understand why ants live in anthills, to seek refuge from the sheer unholiness and inconceivable horror of the world beyond. And whenever they are forced to leave their paradise to find food, they probably feel like they are entering the realm of the gods!
You have spent generations building your colony below some wood and stones — then some new white powdery food appears outside. You carry it inside, give it to your queen and the offspring — and have to watch as they start to burst open a few minutes later. Yup, baking soda's the way Germans (others too?) get rid of ants in the house; and it works like a charm.
Look at it from this perspective; imagine coming across one of these larger-than-life beings. All is good, right? You aren't in it's way, right? Then this thing friggin' looks down at you, before a look of disgust crosses it's face and either crushes you under it's foot or leans down to crush you with one of five appendages attached to another appendage. These colossal abominations see you as nothing more than a pest and will gladly obliterate you on sight.
Imagine you're a young Orca encountering an attack submarine for the very first time. As an Orca, you are the apex predator of the Oceans. When you show up, Great White Sharks leave. You've just run into something that is several times more massive than a Blue Whale, and a Blue Whale is too big for you to hunt. Imagine your horror when your podmates (all of whom are both older and closely related to you) tell you about what attack submarines prey on.
Whales communicate through sub-sonic vibrations-basically SONAR if it were for talking. A whale hearing an attack submarine must be like us hearing some creepy hobo chattering nonsense.
As far as I know, sub captains don't use active sonar unless they have to. A whale that hears a submarine is most likely hearing engine noise.
Oh, it's potentially much creepier than that. Active sonar isn't language; it's basically a one-note "ping" that goes out and bounces off things in the area. That's not even babbling. That's one loud shriek. The first time a whale encountered a sub using active sonar probably went something like, "AGH! Sweet merciful Poseidon WHAT IS THAT THING?! AND WHY IS IT SCREAMING LIKE THAT?!"
Think about human speech. A mature dog might be able to understand some of the most basic things of what humans are saying, like learning what they are calling you or noticing that the sound "walk" is somehow related to when you're allowed to go outside and make your business. But these are tiny drops in the vast ocean of human verbal communication. Although a dog is seeing humans talking to each other all the time, the meaning of their speech is literally beyond its comprehension. Then, there are other pets like rabbits who hardly communicate through sounds. To them, the sheer variety of human vowels and consonants must be something very alien.
That's just one human. What about two or more talking to one another? The dog knows they're talking, but what it might be about is utterly beyond what the dog is focused on.
Think about ants and other insects. Its possible they can't even hear us.
Do realize what humans even eat? They find things that burn animals mouths, taste horribly bitter, bizarre shapes that seem...alien...unlike anything remotely edible...and they eat them. Hell, they even eat things that kill other animals.
And ponder why we do it. Most animals are opportunistic eaters; they will take sustenance when and wherever they can, so long as its edible. But humans have mastered their environment to such a degree that they have the luxury of choice. They can have whatever they want, whenever they want, limited only by factors (ie. money, storage space, etc.) the average non-sentient animal can barely wrap its head around. They even have the power to selectively breed plants and animals to match their preferences in flavor. Humans have access to so much food, in such variety, that they often simply get bored. Eating for humans is not a mere necessity: it's a game. We will look for the next thrill, the next new sensation, something unusual, dangerous, or just plain different. And if we can't find it, we still won't starve, because there's always something in the cupboard.
Also, some breeds of dog, like the bichon frise, have sensitive pancreases which means they can't eat human food. So in the dog's case, humans love to eat food that would kill them.
Hell, *chocolate* is poison for dogs but itís ďtoy food Ē for humans. (Though itís presumably tasty to dogs, too, since they do eat it if given the chance.)
Consider things from a chili pepper's perspective. You evolve a perfect defense to ward off predators so you can grow in peace when suddenly an unknowable abomination starts eating you and your family. Because they like the taste.
Well, actually, humans generally only eat the fruit of a pepper's plants. While it is just for fun when humans do it, the entire function of a fruit is to be eaten by animals, and animals have different sets of resistances to different foods. Humans can eat chocolate, but it's poison to dogs; peppers and its relatives burn the mouths of humans, but birds are completely unaffected by it; Eucalyptus is deadly toxic to humans, but koalas can eat it with no problems.
In a way, the Peppers' case went perhaps too right, considering it was an adaptation to make sure its seeds were spread. Without humans in the equation, it's simply a way for birds to be the only ones to spread the seeds. And then they come along, like this feeling, and spread the plant far and wide, except they also start tampering with its breeding to make it even more spicy. If it weren't for the fact these are plants, it could well start heading into odd territory.
Other primates, great apes in particular, probably see us as their equivalent of a Humanoid Abomination. Just think of what it must be like to be a chimp or a gorilla in a zoo. You're in a cruelly small space that looks uncannily like your natural habitat, but beyond is a void filled with creatures that look just like you. And they just stand there, zombie-like, watching you forever.
It's even worse than that for other great apes. Kanzi is a bonobo smart enough to learn human sign language from a Gorilla and communicate it back to his handlers. For Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, and Orangatangs we look strange, walk funny, make weird sounds they can't make, and have social customs that are completely alien to them.
There's a theory that dinosaurs simply couldn't survive in the climate of modern Earth: the climate of their day was warmer, wetter, and more oxygenated. For a dinosaur to be transported to the modern day would be like a human being transported to Mars. The air is deathly cold. You can barely breathe. You probably can't even hear anything, due to your eardrums being designed for a thicker atmosphere. And you're surrounded by these strange little creatures that seem to thrive in the very conditions that render you helpless. Imagine that. In your own world, you are the undisputed top of the food chain. Here you can't move, can't hear, can't see. You're at the mercy of these ghoulish, alien...things.
It gets worse: imagine as a dinosaur, you find out just what these great mechanical beasts use for fuel. Sweet Dino-Jesus...
Oh, and those bipedal naked things that somehow ruled the world? They are the descendents of those little furry things that you either ate or barely paid attention to. It's the dinosaur equivalent of the Planet of the Apes, only much worse.
Humanityís continued social and technological evolution means that, from the point of view of Lovecraft himself or one of his social contemporaries, we have become Cthulhu by way of Transhuman Aliens. Think about it: our present day society would be incomprehensible to Lovecraft due to sheer Values Dissonance, what with our promotion of multiculturalism, lack of an established aristocratic social caste, freedom of speech, casual acceptance of what would be horrific licentiousness and immorality (we let women walk around in skimpy clothes, there are open same-sex couples, no official stigma against mixed-race couples)Ö And then thereís our scientific advances. We have machines that can carry us around the world in a few hours. Weíve been to the moon and back, and sent machines that send us information back as far as Pluto. We can unleash weapons capable of leaving entire cities obliterated and render enormous swathes of countryside a toxic wasteland that leaves future generations sickened and deformed, and these weapons can be sent all around the world with the touch of a button (intercontinental missiles, nuclear warheads). We have machines that can tap into all human knowledge ever developed Ė every film, every novel, every piece of art, everything man has ever produced can be seen and possibly replicated by anyone with the right knowledge and one of these machines (read: computers and the internet). We've evolved into something that would almost be as alien to Lovecraft's protagonists as the monsters he wrote about.
Well, Lovecraft certainly wouldn't like the modern world, but he would be able to comprehend it. In fact, as someone who kept up on science and technology, he would understand modern technology better than most people from his era, since most modern technology basically amounts to refinements of 1920s and 1930s technology (yes, even computers and nuclear weapons—the basic concepts were well-known even then). Even our understanding of the universe isn't terribly different from the one we had in the 1930s unless you get into the more specialized, technical aspects.
However, this concept still holds true if you go even further back in time. If you were to somehow pluck a Roman legionary out of the first century A.D. and drop him into modern-day New York, he would see an enormous city, with a population eight times larger than that of the largest city in his own time, with buildings that reached into the clouds, and filled with machines that don't even have obvious counterparts in his own time. Everyone would speak a strange tongue that sounded like a cross between a Germanic barbarian's and a butchered version of his own. He would probably find the idea that all this was built in less that 350 years unbelievable. The experience would most likely drive him insane.
The ancient Romans had artificial harbours, concrete, indoor plumbing, and 50,000 seat stadiums. When I was born cellphones did not exist and my current one has replaced my laptop. An ancient Roman would be okay in the modern world.
This extrapolation would have more applicability to an early modern human circa 100,000 BC. There were, perhaps, ten thousand living human beings in the world at that point; all existing in hunter-gatherer groups numbering no more then fifty individuals at most. The patterns of life were minimal, migratory and ephermeral. Tribal conflict was endemic. Food and other resources were consistently scarce. The average life expectancy was twenty years and virtually all women died in childbirth. Compared to that, we may as well live in an eleven-dimensional hyperspace reality.
Consider this adorable video from the sloth's point of view. He's going about his sloth-ly business, moving quite fast by his standards, when suddenly some unknown force snatches him from the ground, carries him through the air at incredible speed, and deposits him at his destination, doing in a matter of seconds what would probably have taken him all day. It's like he just fell through a frigging wormhole. Or had an encounter with the gods.
A great number of species instinctively fear humans, which is basically the same as how most of Lovecraft's protagonists react to mythos entities; they find them inexplicably terrifying even if they're just standing around not doing anything.
The only top-level predatory land mammal that isn't instinctively afraid of a human is called a Polar Bear. They look at us the same way they look at everything else: It's mealtime.
To animals like raccoons or squirrels or other "suburban pests," we must seem like terraforming aliens. We carve paths in the earth and pave them with a material they've never seen before. We create structures of sizes and shapes that they would never encounter in nature. We don't completely destroy greenery, but the plants and trees we do keep we arrange in neat patterns that must seem horribly "off" to them. We simply throw away tremendous amounts of food and other useful material, and keep it in storage units made of unfathomable materials like plastic and refined metal. They can get to that food if they're smart enough to figure it out and bold enough to try, but these strange invaders will try to kill them if they catch them. These animals probably see themselves as Disaster Scavengers after an Alien Invasion, scrounging for food and shelter amidst a surreal unnatural landscape.
Reminds one of the scene in Over the Hedge when RJ the raccoon is describing all the rituals humans have for food.
Humans tend to fear spiders and kill them on-site, yet spiders are more afraid of humans and would prefer to flee. Does that mean Cthulhu killed humans because he was terrified of us?
The comparison doesnt really work, Cthulu's victims generally came about either due to sheer shock or from his worshippers, Cthulhu himself is so alien that a concept like "fear" probably doesnt even apply to him. A more apt comparison would be to the creatures from Stephen Kings From A Buck 8, where both humans and beings are driven to kill eachother when spotted because the sheer wrongness caused both sides to lash out in mindless fear with little to no control.
Animals see fire as a force of nature that comes into existence often suddenly (such as from flash fire or lightning) and only serves to destroy everything in its path until it is doused. To animals, we humans are eldritch because not only we can create fire (matchsticks, lighters, etc), we humans can even use fire to preserve (cooked/heated food tend to last longer, however slightly).
And then there's the fact that we originally viewed it this way until we found its benefits. To humans, fire is not an unstoppable force of nature; it's a tool. Fire doesn't just cook and preserve food; it powers engines and forges stronger tools and weapons. We took something destructive and unstoppable and tamed it. We chained the Devil and he now does our bidding.
It gets worse. Not only do we tame fire, we tamed it before we existed. There's evidence that Homo erectus domesticated fire. That right: Our evolutionary ancestors tamed fire barely after achieving sapience.
Consider the point of view of a deep-sea creature like a giant squid or a hatchetfish that has been taken onto land. At least with land or shallow water animals, they at least have some kind of familiarity with humans that might make the experience more comprehensible. Even an animal like a dinosaur or a synapsid would still be able to recognize at least a few things about us as familiar. It's hard to even imagine how they might describe us if they could, as we're so different from any kind of deep-sea life that they may not even have the necessary knowledge to come up with a description. They would have never encountered even the starting points of humanity. Our bodies? "Eyes" would be pretty much the only resemblance. Even the ideas of legs, arms, a torso, fingers, noses, or hair wouldn't even be known to them. And the most basic things we need to live? They wouldn't even know what those are, either-they would have a concept of "food", but they'd have no experience with air or sunlight, and considering they've never been anywhere else they may not even be able to imagine anything outside of the water. To them, we are effectively made of inconceivability.
Humans are the only animals who create Art. No other creature has a sense of aesthetics or an appreciation of beauty in and of itself. Birds have beautiful plumage and elaborate dances and displays, but those are purely to attract a mate. Humans can find beauty in things without caring what they're for. Humans can create things of beauty that have no other purpose other than to be looked at and admired. Crazy, hunh?
Let's take a big broad view of this. You are a life form that is observing a series of abstract symbols on a screen that form words. Discreet clusters of sounds that represent things that in many cases have no connection to anything in the sensory world but instead act as place holders for general trends in the universe. Love is something that has no meaning to a reptile but would probably mean a lot to a dog. But what of romance, poetry, spirituality? Not only are the concepts outside of the dog's experience but they are impossible for it to understand. It's brain hasn't the language center to consider them. On the outside we are freakish up right apes but on the inside we exist in far more than three dimensions and traffic in thing as unreal as philosophy, politics and religion. A huge portion of your brain exist to sort things that can't be seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted and in nearly any other species that would be little more than madness and death. We are not Cthulhu because we have habits that other species don't understand. Below language everything is comprehensible and nothing is comprehensible. Comprehensibility isn't an issue until you develop abstract language and find the need to describe things that you can't point to. Before that all there is is confusion. Whether something can or can't be understood just isn't a point of consideration. What makes use Cthulhu is that we would need to imagine him, spread the idea of him, get bored with him, and eventually dissect him and find ourselves inside.