Plato had a theory. To help our understanding of it, he invented a Cave. We soon dismissed that Cave, but understood the theory itself.
Lovecraft also had a theory. To help us understand, he created a Mythos. We loved that Mythos, but somewhat failed to understand the core message.
Plato’s point was this: what is discernible with our five senses may not be the whole truth. If someone was to be chained in a cave since early childhood, and only ever saw shadows on a rock cliff, he / she would be unable of even imagining the world outside the Cave – the world that actually makes those shadows. So, now, how do we know this isn’t the case for us too, in this world?
Lovecraft’s message was this:
“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”
Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s first and foremost intention was not to craft an elaborate horror mythos, but simply to tell a cautionary tale about science. Science is very useful, yes; it saves lives and provides us with clean drinking water, comfortable shelter, and the like. But at one point, science is gonna fail us. Lovecraft was absolutely spot-on about that. The higher “up” we go towards the extremely vast (e.g. Dark Matter), science fails us. The further “down” we go towards the extremely small (e.g. Higgs boson), science fails us. And yet maybe Higgs boson and Dark Matter are one and the same...
Yep – now that would certainly be the Elder Gods’ cruelest joke.