Beyond Good and Evil in “The Call of Cthulhu”

“The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with ¬†laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.” Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu”, p.155.

The passage above struck me as Lovecraft providing a horrifying reminder of our socially constructed morality, beyond which is a largely ¬†incomprehensible space of feeling. For example, likening some flaming holocaust to feelings of ecstasy and freedom seems not just disgusting, but beyond relation in considering our own understandings of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Though the results may not be as extreme as Lovecraft’s vision of a planet ruled by cosmic eldritch horrors, serious issue could be seen in considering humanity’s own moral adaptation as we venture further into a terrifyingly alien universe.

Lovecraft, H.P. “The Call of Cthulhu”. H.P. Lovecraft: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories. Ed. S.T. Joshi. London: Penguin, 2002. 139-169. Print.

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