Our Cosmic Horror In The Hollow Heavens

One of the Universe’s well-known but less comprehensive realities is how enormous the true scale of the world is. Our ruler of lightyears is completely undetectable on a human scale yet the differences in location extend into the billion. Even within our household, our Earth is a pebble amongst giants. Our Sun, over a hundred times larger than Earth, is considered a modest size with other stars a hundred times larger than itself.

As science understands it, Earth and its larger siblings are products of nature’s tide. Masses made from torrents of hot matter and energy spun into the colossal that make our world. The distances between just Earth and our moon are already far larger than our natural vision can landmark. There are no mountain tops or horizons to rise, no pods of whales, or flocks of birds. Out there in the heavens is a complete absence of physical existence. Only the small glimmers of distance stars, many likely as cold and lifeless as the rest of our solar planets.

The Earth and Moon As Seen by 2001 Mars Odyssey PIA00559

Our closest neighbor, Proxima Centauri is 4.35 light-years away. That is to say, light from our sun is delayed by 4.35 years from reaching the Centauri System. These distances between the cosmos only expand exponentially. Our own galaxy, the milky way would take 109 thousand light-years just to travel across in one direction. Just making it to the moon took immense national funding and many technological breakthroughs. With present infrastructure, it’s hard to imagine if technology will still be capable of such transformations for interstellar feats. Thankfully today’s Computing potential was just as unknowable before the first moon mission.

Pale Blue Dot Revisited PIA23645 “Earth through a ray of sun” Voyager 1

The sheer scale and reality-bending phenomenons that span the universe became the stomping ground for H.P. Lovecraft’s mythos of famous horrors long before the larger monstrosities of the universe were even discovered. He wrote tales of Dark Gods that are so powerful and permeating into the subsurface of reality that for a human to witness or comprehend its true nature they would be lost in the madness. More recently is the acclaimed author Junji Ito carrying on the invention of horror that denies our very reality.

World of Horror by Panstasz which takes inspiration from Junji Ito’s work

Our known universe is not without its own unknowable hazards that escape our knowledge. Black holes, wormholes, dark matter and energy, gamma pulses, celestial collisions. Astronomers have begun unraveling natural fulminations of the cosmos that can snuff out life like a candle in the wind. What cosmic horror proposes is an antithesis to an intelligent designer, an intelligent destroyer. That humans, life, and the planets and stars themselves are nothing more than a feeding ground to be digested by existence our minds are not evolved enough to understand.

Fantasy is one thing but the modern idea that the human brain is limited by its accumulated adaptations does potentially hold water. There are many things our brains are wired to excel at one of them is our fear. Fear is a raw function of many animals, it makes us survive and reflex to life-ending encounters we may have encountered during human evolution. We can steer clear of predators in the wild or hostiles within our social groups. Our sense of fear is built from the reality humans lived by throughout our history as a species.

The cosmos however are eternally incomprehensible to our daily lives but at the same time is the goliaths that lay our bedrock. The moon, sun, and planets of the solar system are unreachable by any non-technological means, despite that they and all the stars of the milky way and beyond have been up there in the night sky guiding our voyages through land, sea, sky, and heavens beyond. Our sun bathes the earth in nuclear rays that guide life through love unto death. Cultures and religions were shaped by the connection humans built from the colossal of the night sky.

NASA Hand of God - exploding star
Hand of God, NASA

To survive our fears can push humans to any form of desperation. Like any animal, we are capable of violent and deadly feats to survive. Stealing, killing, foraging, digging. betraying. If there’s a way for a human to survive we have done it, sins and all. But how does one survive the end of life itself? Our pale blue dot in the darkness is the only vessel of livable space known to our sun. What cosmic horror asks us is, what if? What if the clock runs out? If the meteor strike that ended prehistoric life on Earth comes again?

Once humans became familiar with the near impossibility for life to exist outside of Earth and the annihilation of dinosaurs from a meteor the human species face a new reality of disasters that would eradicate our debut as intelligent life forever. If a turn of nature that exists on the cosmic scale were to ever encounter for Earth to avoid it would be as difficult as stopping the sun from rising.

As current humanity exists there is no act of desperation that would lead to our survival should the earth be remolded once again, the cosmic horrors of fantasy are a reminder of cosmic reality and stirs anxiety of our brief lifespans and fragile necessities. But don’t be alarmed, the likelihood of anything of that scale is laughably small and as far from our lifetime as the dinosaurs are. Except for climate change, we’re all gonna be skelly-boned on that without intervention.

Check out other editorials here on Dread XP. If today’s caught your fancy stay tuned for Nier Automata and the world of post-humanity and check my precursor about Nier Replicant and the pain of history.