Why Do We Create Monsters?

It’s a wonder to me why so many movies and novels are produced portraying demons, vampires, aliens and monsters of all kinds when the people who view or read them can be positively scared by these inventions. What is the fascination for us humans in scaring ourselves? Is life not troublesome enough that we have to add more fearful elements to it? We create these monsters and then we allow them to frighten us, and in some cases have power over us, also. Is this something we allow to spill over into our normal, everyday, lives; that we not only allow demons to have power over us, but also various humans to whom we give power by our adulation. Isn’t it a fact that what we give our thought to we give power to also. This can vary in range from movie stars, pop stars, politicians, churchmen, to overseers and bosses. And, of course, monsters, the enemy, and demons! The fabric of our nightmares!

Our nightmares and fears can range in status from the simplistic, for example fear of a spider, to fear of people in our everyday lives such as teachers, police, to greater fears of the unknown, the enemy we cannot see and even wild animals we have never encountered! Fear of our own failure is something probably all of us have faced at some time in our lives. And many of us have as children been threatened with, and by, authority figures to scare us into behaving ourselves. We have been threatened by our parents at times with the police or the dreaded “bogyman”, to frighten us into behaving. Or were our parents afraid that their authority was in question and they had to call on a weightier one

For one person to be placed in authority over another human being does not always mean that the one in authority is better or more intelligent than the minion below. In fact sometimes, and possibly more often than not, it is not the case. But if the pupil does not eventually outshine the teacher then the pupil has not really learned anything significant. And any teacher who has had a pupil outshine them in their own field should be proud that they have helped create this star.

But to be afraid of being either outshone by our pupils or frightened by our own, or someone else’s, demons, or cowed by those in authority over us is something we should examine seriously and question. This is not an anarchistic idea. It is simply, and I think intelligently and with due respect, a re-defining of the relationships, dogmas and creations we have allowed to take control of us. We are cautioned that we should not question “our betters” or those in authority. Who are our betters?

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I believe the wisest people are those who are the humblest and would never assume to be better than anyone else and would never assume to have control over us. My example would be known and established persons of great and recognizable integrity. Two names spring instantly to mind: the Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa of Calcutta. These are people who have cleared out the skeletons from their own cupboards and chased the demons from their psyche, faced them, embraced them and turned fear on its head and changed it into its opposite – love. And put themselves at the disposal of humanity to help create a better world. People of this caliber would always be aware that they are the ones learning the most from their fellow humans, and not the other way around. They would also be people who see life as it is, without taboos, class levels, dogmas and superstitions.

I often wonder where our superstitions came from in the first place? Were they “invented” by people who recognized the fears within us and used those fears to have control over us for their own selfish, and mostly misguided, purposes? Someone who has your good at heart would never use you in a manipulative way: would never impose an idea upon you that was not for your own good. Once we accept these superstitions and take them on board, we give the “inventor” of the superstition control over us. And if we ourselves are the inventor then we give the superstition itself the control and we have rendered ourselves a great disservice. One which will take a lot of self work and probably much professional help to eradicate.

We haven’t yet learned the lesson of “The Wizard Of Oz”. We have created our monsters and we allow them to lord over us. We still see “Oz” as a children’s story with a childish story-line and comic-book characters with some memorable songs sprinkled around. The message is lost on us. It was the little dog, with his non-thinking inquisitive, doggie nose, that sniffed out the human manipulator behind the monster and exposed him for what he really was; a sham. But still we seem to be fascinated by the monsters and spooks. Our book stores are full of horror novels. Our film makers earn big money from scaring us. The computer game stores are packed with aliens and monsters to blast. All in the name of entertainment!

Neither have we learned from our past. Great civilizations have risen and fallen. Wars have swept over our lands and been consigned to history. Great men have lived and died. Economies have flourished and crashed. All of these soar and plummet only to repeat the pattern again and again. If history has taught us anything it is that we can be manipulated time and time again. And we fall for the same “tricks” over and over. The majority of us are gullible and the clever manipulators among us use it against us for their own gain, at the same time telling us it’s for our own good. And we swallow it wholeheartedly. Will we ever learn?

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Perhaps we are not aware of what we should learn. We study at schools and collages the subjects that interest us, or what we think will give us a good living. But is that all there is to it? An interest; a livelihood. Do we ever stop to study ourselves. To really stop and look at what we are. How we behave towards others. How we react to our friends, acquaintances, relatives, bosses… Somebody reacts unfavorably to something we said or did. Is the flaw in me or the beholder? Or I recognize a weakness in another person and I use that weakness to manipulate them, and bring them down. Do we see our own inhumanity to our fellow men? Should I not recognize that the flaw is probably in myself and I need look for ways to correct in.

Are the demons we have created really the demonic side of our own nature? Have we allowed ourselves to be afraid of that part of us? The dark side of us: the negative aspect. Is it like saying we are afraid of our own hand; that it might smite us. I believe the demons that scare us are mere figments of our imagination which we seem to have little control over and allowed to grow unchecked, sometimes to insane proportions. They are, I believe, only the negative side of our duality. After all we have become what we think we are and these are our own creations. Even if we took part in their creation as part of the collective consciousness. And then we allowed them to live within us. We nurtured them on our fears.

With a little effort we could just as easily banish then and be rid of them, and like the unwanted weeds that choke the flowers in our garden should be rooted out and consumed on the fire of our wisdom. But perhaps, deep down, we are as attached to our dark side as we are to our bright; attached to our hates as much as our loves; our dislikes as much as our likes!

There is nothing to fear really except fear itself, the voice of wisdom says. And that fear is the greatest demon of them all. That is the foundation of all our problems. Topple it and the whole edifice of our demons and the shadows of our doubts comes tumbling down.


by Dick Donaghue