Quotes / Cosmic Horror Story

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but 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 deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

"You humans build little worlds, little stories, little shells around your minds and that keeps infinity at bay and allows you to wake up in the morning without screaming!"
The Hiver, A Hat Full of Sky

"Wisdom is but the beginning of fear."
Inquisitorial Proverb, Warhammer 40,000

"Cthulhu makes Gozer look like Little Mary Sunshine."
Egon Spengler, The Real Ghostbusters

"It came from beyond the extreme reaches of our reality,
It came to laugh at our naive existences.
I am puzzled by the truth that slips through my hands even as I cover my ears.
Where in this thin body do I find the strength to stand?"
Partial translation of "Uninstall", opening theme for Bokurano

Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal. The pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything. [...] The pattern has repeated itself more times than you can fathom. Organic civilizations rise, evolve, advance. And at the apex of their glory, they are extinguished. [...] We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution. You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.
Sovereign, Mass Effect

"For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of existence and into a new universe where the air drowns him and the light is blue madness? Where huge bipeds with no gills stuff it into a suffocating box and cover it with wet weeds to die?"
The Man In Black, The Gunslinger

"Evil never dies. Darkness never retreats. In the cracks and the crevices of our society there are monsters undreamed of by the rank and file of humanity. I've been there. I've seen them. They exist in the spaces between things, in the folds of existence where we can't find them. Sometimes they cross over, sometimes they manifest, and all hell breaks loose. Only this is not Hell, nor Heaven. This is like nothing anyone has ever understood. This is pure evil, pure destruction. This is the Apocalypse."
Maj. Gen. Reginald Fairfield, U.S. Army (Ret.), 25 FEB 1994 (Delta Green core book opening fiction piece)

"In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of God hovering above? At least it is true that man has no control, even over his own will."

"Everything dies. You. Me. Everyone on this planet. Our sun. Our galaxy. And, eventually, the universe itself. This is simply how things are. It's inevitable...and I accept it."
Mr. Fantastic, delivering the Arc Words for Jonathan Hickman's Avengers, the cosmic horror story of the end of Marvel's Multiverse.

I have seen the dark universe yawning,
Where the black planets roll without aim;
Where they roll in their horror unheeded
Without knowledge or lustre or name.
H.P. Lovecraft, "Nemesis" (also epigraph to "The Haunter of the Dark")

See, Lovecraft's stories haven't remained popular so long just because his monsters are scary. They endure because his monsters are metaphors for existential alienation. It's not the appearance of the monsters in his stories, it's the reality of them, the fact that they exist. Their existence alone proves that humanity is doomed and that all our hopes and dreams are stupid. Running into one of Lovecraft's Elder Gods is like finding a strange pair of underwear in your bed and realizing that your spouse is cheating on you. It's not the underwear itself that's stabbing you in the heart; it's the betrayal it represents. Lovecraft's monsters are proof to the protagonist that the universe is not benevolent. Finding strange underwear might mean that your spouse never loved you; stumbling upon a Lovecraft creature means that God never loved you. (If you don't want to summon Cthulhu, a similar feeling can be achieved by reading YouTube comments.)

And crawling on the planet's face:
Some insects called 'the human race'.
Lost in time,
Lost in space,
...and meaning.

Imagine yourself taking a stroll through Manhattan, somewhere north of 68th street, deep inside Central Park, late at night. It would be nice to meet someone friendly, but you know that the park is dangerous at night. Thatís when the monsters come out. Thereís always a strong undercurrent of drug dealings, muggings, and occasional homicides. It is not easy to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys. They dress alike, and the weapons are concealed. The only difference is intent, and you canít read minds. Stay in the dark long enough and you may hear an occasional distance shriek or blunder across a body. How do you survive the night? The last thing you want to do is shout, ďIím here!Ē The next to last thing you want to do is reply to someone who shouts, ďIím a friend!Ē What you would like to do is find a policeman, or get out of the park. But you donít want to make noise or move towards a light where you might be spotted, and it is difficult to find either a policeman or your way out without making yourself known. Your safest option is to hunker down and wait for daylight, then safely walk out. There are, of course, a few obvious differences between Central Park and the universe. There is no policeman. There is no way out. And the night never ends.

This, Christian realized, was the apex of what Lovecraft had summed up in his philosophies. Perhaps it had been symbolic of something, back then; of the world's advancing technologies and the harnessing of what an antiquarian thought mankind was not meant to harness, of the increasing understanding of the capaciousness of the cosmos at large, of the integration of foreign races into a modern society as viewed by a xenophobe. But the quintessential idea of Lovecraft's views was fear of the unknown, of the incomprehensible, of what mankind was not and was never meant to behold. And no matter how many eons mankind was gifted to advance, no matter what hyper-evolved super-society they may have eventually metamorphosed into, they never would have been able to understand a being as immeasurable as the stars themselves, whose great, eldritch mind was vast enough to encompass the whole of mankind's existence in a single vacuole of its thought.

We knew there would be a price to pay, but we thought it might be one we could bear, or that we could find some way to avoid paying it.
It was not, and we could not.
The price we have paid is everything. In an instant, so fast there is no time to react, let alone respond, the [Empire] is... gone. Where once there was thriving colonies, there is now only death. Where once mighty fleets crossed the void, there is only ghosts and debris. All devoured by the End. All taken by the Shroud.
Stellaris, the result of the End of the Cycle coming to collect

Every species can smell its own extinction. The last ones left... won't have a pretty time with it. In ten years ó maybe less ó the human race will just be a... bedtime story for their children. A myth, nothing more.
John Trent, In the Mouth of Madness

The time is five years to go before the end of the earth. It has been announced that the world will end because of lack of natural resources. Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything. Ziggy was in a rock-and-roll band and the kids no longer want rock-and-roll. There's no electricity to play it. Ziggy's adviser tells him to collect news and sing it, 'cause there is no news. So Ziggy does this and there is terrible news. "All The Young Dudes" is a song about this news. It's no hymn to the youth as people thought. It is completely the opposite...The end comes when the infinites arrive. They really are a black hole, but I've made them people because it would be very hard to explain a black hole on stage...Ziggy is advised in a dream by the infinites to write the coming of a Starman, so he writes "Starman", which is the first news of hope that the people have heard. So they latch onto it immediately...The starmen that he is talking about are called the infinites, and they are black-hole jumpers. Ziggy has been talking about this amazing spaceman who will be coming down to save the earth. They arrive somewhere in Greenwich Village. They don't have a care in the world and are of no possible use to us. They just happened to stumble into our universe by black hole jumping. Their whole life is travelling from universe to universe. In the stage show, one of them resembles Brando, another one is a Black New Yorker. I even have one called Queenie, the Infinite Fox...Now Ziggy starts to believe in all this himself and thinks himself a prophet of the future starmen. He takes himself up to the incredible spiritual heights and is kept alive by his disciples. When the infinites arrive, they take bits of Ziggy to make them real because in their original state they are anti-matter and cannot exist in our world. And they tear him to pieces on stage during the song "Rock 'N' Roll Suicide". As soon as Ziggy dies on stage the infinites take his elements and make themselves visible.
David Bowie (in an interview with William S. Burroughs) describing one possible interpretation of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

The Old Ones know me now. Beneath the waves, beyond the skies, they know my name. I am theirs. I must attend to them as they make their preparations.
They will wrest this world from the light. They will drown the cities and swallow the mountains. They will burst the moon and drain the sun. They will draw the earth back into the darkness from which it frothed. They will flood the universe until the horizon is abandoned and there is no barrier between the sea and sky. All shall be at peace then: tranquil and still but for their fitful stirrings. Our puny sentience is an affront to them, for theirs is the truest claim upon existence. All lives, all creation, must be extinguished. I understand this now, and I welcome it.
"K'yaloh D'argesh F'ah," the leader told Palmer. "Leviathan slumbering, but day will come of wakening."
"The tale of my escape and of my journey home is long," Palmer concluded. "But it is not a tale worth telling, because... well, because nothing is worth anything. If I am quiet - if I am droll - it is because since that day, life has held little interest. For how could it? What purpose is there in pursuing the trivial amusements of man?"
"K'yaloh D'argesh F'ah," he repeated slowly. "Day will come of wakening."
He glanced backwards at their churning wake, back towards the swirling waters where once Pestilent Isle had sat. "Day has come."