How many of us experience a frisson of fear walking into a dark house by ourselves and wonder about all the nasty things that could be lurking there? Until we turn on the lights and realize that nothing is there except what our imagination creates.
I’ve been doing some reading about monsters lately. Apparently, the word monster comes from the root word “mon” which means “to show or demonstrate.” There are other two word sources that monster stems from: “monstrum” which refers to an aberrant occurrence, outside of nature, and “monere” which means to warn or instruct. So monsters are something outside of nature that instruct.
Interestingly, depending on the critic, a monster can reveal a culture’s racism, sexism, imperialism, capitalism or whatever other -ism the critic dislikes. This reveals more about the critic than it does about the monster or the culture.
There’s the element of truth there though: monsters reveal the heart of humanity. They reveal what we fear, what we demonize, what we deem outside of social norms, who is to save humanity from the monster, and who is to be protected from the monsters. We humans create monsters in effort to distance ourselves from all the negative aspects of our behavior. We create a monstrous “Other” to place the blame for ourselves and then we make ourselves heroes for our ability to destroy our scapegoat creation.
Just a few things I’ve been thinking about the past two weeks, Barazers. Hope you have a great Monday!