Both the Mi-Go and the spawn of Cthulhu are identified by HPL as being from outside of our known universe. In addition, it is recognized that these entities are made of different matter than us. But how different is different? Relative to Lovecraftian entities this is a fairly important question, particularly since there appears to be an inverse relationship that the more “different” an entity is from us, the less we understand them or their motivations. In addition, this difference is not simply based on appearance and morphology. This article will briefly review this topic.
Back in August as part of my presentation on the Old Ones at the Necronomicon, I used the analogy of trees in understanding the differences among various forms of life. This is by no means an innovative idea; Charles Darwin famously coined the term “Tree of Life”, based at least partially on a scribble he did in one of his notebooks (see below).
Darwin’s Tree of Life
As described in a previous article on this blog site, Darwin’s Tree of Life now a days can be thought of more as a shrub rather than a tree (thanks primarily to the knowledge we have gained on genetics and microbial evolution over the last 150 years). Thus, all life on Earth can be thought of to be on the same shrub, with each twig or tip representing a distinct species (keeping complicating microbial processes factors such as horizontal gene transfer out of the picture for now).
Humans are eukaryotic organisms; our cells are endosymbiotic “experiments” where simpler forms of life (bacteria) are merged together to form more complex forms of life such as animals, plants, fungi and protozoa. These experiments were run by the Elder Ones. Another outcome of their experiments with native prokaryotic Earth life was the development of the “super-eukaryote” – the Shoggoth. While incredibly adaptable to varying environments and means of obtaining energy (food), the Elder Ones intentionally bioengineered the shoggoths to be incapable of reproducing, unless facilitated by their masters in the “shoggoth pits”.
Since prokaryotic Earth life was used to create the shoggoths, these organisms would technically be another branch on Earth’s shrub of life. Although a more distant and distinct branch, the shoggoths would still be a branch on Earth’s shrub. This is in sharp contrast to the Elder Ones, which are presumed to be truly alien; that is, they originated and evolved on another world before coming to Earth. Thus, to use the shrub analogy, while the Shoggoths are on our Shrub of Life, the Elder Ones would be on another entirely different shrub, representing another world’s evolutionary machine. This means while the shoggoths are our cousins, the Elder Ones are more “different” relative to humans.
Shoggoth and an Elder One by the talented artist Ian Miller (for the cover of HPL’s At the Mountains of Madness – Panther Horror Edition)
In contrast to the Elder Ones, the Mi-Go are said to have to have come from “outside” of our known universe and thus are very different than humans, Shoggoths or Elder Ones. Thus, not only do the Mi-Go from a different shrub, but their shrub is from an entirely different “forest”.
Evidence for this “difference” is provided by the fact that the MiGo can’t be photographed by standard photographic equipment and how clumsy they are both in walking and flying in our atmosphere and in our gravity. However, while they are very different from the residents of our universe, something is known of their motivation in their dealings with our world. They need some metal or material on Earth that is somewhat rare in our universe and so they conduct mining operations. Thus they interact with the “natives” of Earth, form strange alliances with certain people and have an excellent knowledge of human physiology and anatomy.
Incredible drawing of a M-Go by Nathan Rosario
While the spawn of Cthulhu are also from “outside” they appear to originate from a more distance “outside”. Thus, to continue on the analogy, the spawn come from a more distant forest relative to the Mi-Go
Like the Mi-Go, their matter is very different from us; however, the spawn can easily change shape and size, which is very different than even the Mi-Go. Although the Mi-Go can alter their shape and size, this typically done through surgery or other medical procedures. In contrast, it appears that the spawn (like their Master) can change their shape and size at will although they do have a preferred morphology.
Fantastic drawing of a spawn of Cthulhu by KingOvRats
In addition to their shape changing, the exact motivation of why the spawn and their Master came to Earth is fairly ambiguous compared to the Mi-Go’s need for Earth’s raw resources. Earth already had the Elder Ones ; why come to Earth where competition for space and resources was already high? Additionally, it is not known how or why their city of R’lyeh sank to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and why they are all dormant and asleep.
Thus, while both the Mi-Go and the spawn are very different to us, the spawn seem to be even more “different” with their shape changing abilities and unknown motives. In addition, there are other Lovecraftian entities we will discuss in future that are even more “different” than the spawn. Next time we will wrap up the discussion on the spawn of Cthulhu and move into the New Year with discussions on the Deep Ones. Thank you – Fred