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The Shoggoth of HP Lovecraft At the Mountains of Madness

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posted on Feb, 7 2023 @ 06:29 PM
I really want to talk about the shoggoth of At The Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft.

I'm not about to upload more photos to ATS so here's a youtube vid with the shoggoth image and spooky music to boot... but also here is a link to the wikipedia image of a shoggoth.

Spoiler alert to those who have never read this national treasure- there are many spoilers. But these are just my impressions and it’s a very short book so don’t take my word for it, I encourage everybody to take a day or two to read it for themselves.

Ok so… a science expedition in Antarctica goes terribly wrong leading to the discovery of an incredible megalithic, giant in every way, stone crazy beehive-maze type of city high up in the mountains in which the hallways are filled with detailed art reliefs that tell the history of the rise and fall of the great civilization that left this (apparently empty) city behind.

The story that unfolds starts with the creators of this great civilization and city coming from space. They are aliens and they are, if I recall correctly, referred to as the “ancient ones.” At least, that is what I will be referring them as here.

The ancient ones could fly (they came from space) and they also had the power to create life when they arrived to earth. They were such powerful creators of life, in fact, that in the beginning life kind of fell off of them and sprouted all around them accidentally. The ancient ones allowed many of these lifeforms to continue on their evolutionary path being that the lifeforms were nonthreatening…

The ancient ones created the shoggoth on purpose, however, in order to build the megalithic structures that the men now discovered, among many other tasks. The sole purpose of the shoggoth was to take orders. They were created without a voice or a language to serve their purpose, and they were created without a shape so that they would be able to assume any shape needed in order to carry out any task/order assigned to them.

With the shoggoth, the ancient ones built massive cities, battled the cthtulhu, and established a very secure and increasingly terrestrial life on earth.

So terrestrial in fact that after many hundreds of thousands of years, or however long it took, the ancient ones slowly lost the ability to fly into space… partly because they never needed to anymore. And they eventually lost the power to create life as well… even their own numbers seemed to dwindle if I recall correctly, and they began to lose the ability to procreate, after they had created all of the shoggoth to be their eternal undying slaves, and after many other lifeforms had accidentally sprung from them which now continued to entertain them in their evolution.

The ancient ones simply became… too comfortable, too complacent, too terrestrial, without any need of a struggle, without anything to challenge them.

And it wouldn’t have been too much of a problem had it not been for the shoggoth whom accidentally developed an intelligence (whoops!)… which lead to the shoggoth conspiring amongst themselves and rising up against their creators to wage war.

Eventually the many shoggoth win the war against their decreasing in number masters, despite being not as intelligent as their creators and despite not having a language of their own and only having the ability to mimmick the masters language, they had numbers and they had the shape to become any brutality needed to secure their win.

At first one is made to feel the dread of being the shoggoth, it is a dreadful thing to be a shoggoth. To have been a slave race without autonomy.

But it becomes very clear that the ancient ones were clearly the more creative, the more intelligent, the more complex and advanced beings and what the shoggoth leaves behind just pales in comparison to all that their creators were.

The style of the reliefs that the men are examining begin to change from complex and beautiful, with depth and masterful skill…. to flat, 2D basic designs.

The hallway that the scientists have entered go from well constructed with complex art reliefs, to a simple and basic tunnel that leads down into the darkness that is symbolic of the max of a shoggoth’s intelligence… filling one with the sense of dread of the shoggoth that can’t be reasoned with or reached.

HP really drives the dread of the darkness that the shoggoth live in, possibly representative of ignorance/less intelligence/less conscious beings.

Of course I think of the danger of AI, but I also can’t help but keep asking the question… aren't we also the shoggoth?

Destroying great things because of our own insecurity like the Tanya Hardings to the Nancy Kerrigans?

After having read this masterpiece (At the Mountains of Madness), I have a much deeper respect for HP Lovecraft who was clearly tapped into the unconscious, the subconscious, the shadow parts of the human psyche which he could only present as monsters, otherwise the truth would have been rejected for the sake of protecting ones own complacency and comfort.. because we are also like the ancient ones, are we not?

If you've read this book, feel free to let me know what you took from it as well.

Thanks for reading.

posted on Feb, 7 2023 @ 07:25 PM
a reply to: geezlouise

I loved reading HP Lovecraft when I was a kid. Way back in the 60s/70s, I bought every one of his books. At The Mountains of Madness was quite good, so was The Colour Out Of Space, there are just so many. A guy who wrote in the vein of HP Lovecraft was Colin Wilson, he wrote The Mind Parasites which is a story involving the progeny of Cthulu and/or Nylgaroth(sp? been a long time). The mind parasites are an alien race that live on the dark side of the moon and basically hijack human energy. It's a good read ;-)

Cheers - Dave

posted on Feb, 7 2023 @ 08:54 PM
a reply to: geezlouise

I love that story.

I read it for the first time when we invaded Iraq.

I tell you what, there's nothing like reading Lovecraft then going out to pee in the Stygian darkness of a moonless desert night. Or sometimes even more disconcerting as going out after a few chapters into the magical desert moonlight without any artificial light to ruin the mood.

The occasional incoming rocket may have enhanced the nervousness and existential dread.

posted on Feb, 8 2023 @ 01:39 AM
Interesting stuff. Lovecraft's cosmic mythos to me intersects with works like Kubrick's Space Odyssey 2001--in other words, artists that seem to have been cursed/gifted with a vision from somewhere and someplace far beyond our own, with an intent to communicate certain universal truths to those keen enough to seek and comprehend, or at least to try.
And such visions exact a very big toll.
In the pop culture realm, vehicles like Star Trek do the same thing.

posted on Feb, 8 2023 @ 09:45 AM
Dang shoggothses...
I'd like to thank the guys from the ye olde HP Podcraft podcast for re-introducing me to Lovecraft, and primarily to that poor sod HP Lovecraft who let everyone play with his madness so I can try to vanquish the squish with polyhedral dice. Emphasis on die. Anyway, the shoggoth from the HBO series are not the same, buuut, HP did say they shapeshift to whatever sundry ideal demoniac beast form tikeli-li yrr nng phlaghbaothetoth. Yeah.
Also, if one used magic, then they are not shoggoth, but an extension of Yog-Sothoth.
You in troubllaghr-nirah. Cough.

posted on Feb, 8 2023 @ 02:59 PM
a reply to: bobs_uruncle

Aside from some short stories I read of HP Lovecraft in passing, I also recently finished Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, made me think of one of Ghibli's animes tbh. Like I imagined it in that way, magical realms and magical creatures, pretty good. Or maybe like the LOTR movies, lol.

Never heard of the mind parasites on the dark side of the moon or of Colin Wilson, tbh is that a scientologist thing? Lol. Still, I love this kind of sci fi horror stuff. I'll have to check it out.

posted on Feb, 8 2023 @ 03:13 PM
a reply to: watchitburn

Damn, what a time to be reading HP!

The style in which he writes (very scientific and matter of fact and detached) really makes it all feel more real almost, and therefore all the more scary.

I thought that HP lovecraft did a wonderful job driving in the message of the smallness of humanity... like humanity is just some small minute accidental insignificant thing happening in the back round, in the face of the grand scheme of everything else in the great big giant drama of the universe.

Being out there in the desert night sounds like an amazing experience. Thanks for sharing!

posted on Feb, 8 2023 @ 03:29 PM
a reply to: RedKaliBlack

Yeah, Kubrick seemed tapped in as well.

My dad was a big fan of Star Trek, I've seen a few episodes. I liked the movies too.

When I was reading At the Mountains I thought of John Carpenters The Thing, Ridley Scotts Prometheus, and the Alien movies of course even though they're the least like it... I think because of the connection to Prometheus and alien monsters?

I seem to love Denis Villeneuve movies now as well, just throwing it out there lol.

posted on Feb, 8 2023 @ 03:45 PM
a reply to: BeNotAfraid

Wow, there it is ATS, the entire book (I believe) free online! Thank you BNA.

I did not know there was an HBO series on shoggoths... that's interesting. And a little disappointing if they are not the shoggoth explained in At the Mountains of Madness, which is what I'm talking about here.

Lol, excuse me? I'm in troubllaghr-nirah now? What, or perhaps... where is that? Your message is very cryptic. Not sure about the polyhedral dice or any of that either. And I don't think HP Lovecraft was mad at all. Quite the contrary, I believe HP Lovecraft was possibly one of the sanest minds that ever graced the face of the earth...

I wish you luck on your journey, be not afraid indeed!

posted on Feb, 8 2023 @ 05:29 PM
I live in the town that inspired the Dunwich Horror. I can see the mountain the family lived at the base of from my driveway.

No, it is not Dunwich Massachusetts. But our woods are spooky and full of legends.

I live in a town that Lovecraft passed through when he traveled from his hometown of Providence, R.I. when visiting his publisher in Springfield, MA. The energy here obviously inspired him.

posted on Feb, 8 2023 @ 07:04 PM
a reply to: twicewidowed

That's pretty neat, so you have a deeper connection it seems.

The wilderness in general is pretty intimidating anywhere you go but when I visited Vermont... those hills felt so dark and so ominous and scary, and yet it was incredibly beautiful as well. I can see how Vermont inspired him too.

posted on Feb, 12 2023 @ 03:28 AM
Can I just ask, does that video have any spoilers? I glossed over everything after you mentioned spoilers, because I am a huge fan of HP Lovecraft, and have several volumes of his works, yet this is one of the only stories I've still never gotten my hands on. (That, and "The case of Charles Dexter Ward")

posted on Feb, 13 2023 @ 07:47 PM
a reply to: DragonsDemesne

The video is just spooky music.

My entire post is a spoiler so... yeah.

BeNotAfraid posted a link to the book, though. Had no idea it was online for free (I think it's all there, not sure though). I bought a secondhand from a thrift store myself.

Highly recommend it.

posted on Feb, 14 2023 @ 05:43 PM
Thanks. Yeah, I have no doubt the story is good. As I mentioned, I have probably 3-4 large volumes of HPL stories, just for some reason none of them have that one.

posted on Mar, 10 2023 @ 08:44 PM
a reply to: geezlouise

Look it up, it's in the hp lovecraft tradition. The mind parasites are like some of the minions of cthulhu that harvest energy from humans. It's an interesting piece of fiction.

Cheers - Dave

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