What is cosmicism? That can be summed very well with the following quote.
Cosmicism is the belief that the universe is cold and indifferent to humanity. While it feels no malice towards us, it doesn’t care if we are wiped from existence in an instant. Which in some ways is more terrifying, the feeling that you’re not even important enough for something to make a point of wiping you from existence.
There is an inherent fear to meaninglessness and the feeling that nothing you do truly matters. I think this is why we once believed in such things as egocentrism. Not only was there no reason not to in ancient pre-scientific times, but also a desire for a feeling of importance. Cosmicism spits in the face of that desire to feel important.
It is in play in both The Void and The Shadow over Innsmouth use this idea, to, in my opinion, varying effect.
In The Shadow of Innsmouth, the case of cosmicism is, in my opinion, rather atypical. Instead of being all about one’s feeling of unimportance when laying eyes on interdimensional space gods that can consume the entire sol system in an instant, The Shadow over Innsmouth seems more concerned with the unimportance of one’s personal ideology and identity. Our protagonist is by the end of the story confronted with the fact that the exact monsters he had been in fear off from the start of the story had, in fact, birthed him. Learning that he was no in fact fully human as he had thought, but in fact a hybrid, not quite monster, not quite man. This tears apart his entire sense of self and place in the world. Eventually sending him on a downward spiral leading to him joining his fellows in the ocean. (Lovecraft, 1936)
The Void, on the other hand, is a bit more standard in its version of cosmicism. Instead, deals, albeit indirectly, with beings beyond death and beyond human comprehension, able to cause resurrections, albeit warped ones and are not even shown. This is likely for the best, as the fear of cosmicism is often in that which is beyond your comprehension and what you can depict on film you can comprehend. Unfortunately, it’s a bit harder to get a feel for these forces, in as much as one can, as they aren’t really brought up until the end of the film and even then, are barely spoken of, merely offhandedly mentioned. However, it appears that they are able to control life and death at their whims and wish to see humanity converted into something more horrifying to us, but likely more to their taste. Eventually, our main hero and main villain end up in their realm. They stand in the shadow of a vast pyramid in a land of rocks and thunder and we are left to decide for ourselves as to their fate. But it is clear they have no power here, wherever here is (Gillespie & Kostanski, 20160.
Death it seems is imminent. But isn’t it always? Sure the universe doesn’t care, but that’s why you should.
Lovecraft, H. P. (1936). The shadow over Innsmouth. Visionary Publishing Company.
Gillespie, J., & Kostanski, S. (Directors). (2016). The void [Motion picture]. Cave Painting Pictures.