First of all, for the Mythos to scare you the way it was meant to, you have to ask yourself "who am I?", you have to be capable of self-analysis. Unfortunately, most people these days never even consider such a thing. They might consider psycho-analysis, trying to figure out what habits they got because their mommy wouldn't let them eat ice cream for lunch; but they won't even consider the question of why we think, how we think, what our consciousness consists of. Descartes goes unnoticed.
The part where it gets scary is when you consider that you are the product of your experiences, of what you think and what you feel/see/hear/etc; and that you depend on these for your very identity. What the Mythos implies is NOT that a godzilla like monster is going to come to eat you; its that all of the human experience, everything you believe to be real, is actually a little bubble of illusion in a vast void of incomprehensibility, all of the assumptions you have about life and the world are wrong, and in fact there is no part of you that is real as you understand it. The REAL things out there are the Elder Gods, primal forces of creation and destruction that have no relation to our human ideas at all. They aren't like us, they're not even evil. And what's so dangerous about them is that they are true and we are not true. They represent the utter meaninglessness of human beings; that not only do we personally not have any purpose or significance, but that the entire human species is purposeless and meaningless. This is the real "dying of the light".
Cthulhu is Buddhist Horror.
These concepts are very hard for someone who was only raised and educated in post-modernism to understand, even moreso with all the luxuries and distractions of modern society. Our modern world hides the reality of death; most of us don't encounter death on a daily basis other than on television, and we are slowly brainwashed into forgetting about worrying about it at all. We are taught to ignore and forget the truth that one day we will die. And it is this question of death, and this not knowing, which creates in us the analysis of our self-identity, where we end up creating either turning to faith in beliefs or developing convictions that are made to be our safeguard, our sense of purpose. Most people today don't have a real faith in anything, and lack real convictions. They are so badly fucked up in this regard that they couldn't even tell the difference between real convictions and mere whim, or between real faith and just partisanship from habit.
Ironically, the worst crime that post-modernism inflicts on society is that it makes it completely helpless against the kind of existential despair that Cthulhu is symbolic of. Its only protection is to try to get people to ignore these questions about meaning, because post-moderism by definition is utterly incapable of offering any objective meaning to life. But as soon as something personally shocking occurs, people who only have post-modernism to rely upon find themselves virtually helpless to stand against this kind of crisis. And of course, if some kind of major disaster strikes society as a whole, society itself becomes incapable of dealing with this disaster in any significant way aside from turning to strongmen who do hold convictions, any convictions. That's pretty much what happened in the US after 9-11. They have no effective way of dealing with crisis, or fighting evil, because they have no way of defining anything as intrinsically good, meaningful, or even true.
Unfortunately, the real reason for Cthulhu's scariness (which is not that he's a big monster, or even his alienness, but that his existence represents the utter meaninglessness of humanity) is almost completely lost to most products of our modern society and educational system. I hope maybe this has cleared up the issue with you a bit.
Currently smoking: Neerup "burlington" Tomahawk + Solani's Aged Burley Flake
(Originally posted January 4th, 2007)