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The Philosophy of Monsters (Or, How to Cope with Reality)

Updated: Feb 14

A man looking like Zombie.

I am disappointed. My attempt to understand what monsters are by looking through definitions and examining a variety of media failed to satisfy. It did not satisfy, because I now realize that there might not be a universal definition for monsters. That could indicate that anything and anyone is capable of being a monster, as long as it can terrify, disturb, or be regarded as inhumane.

It is a large mistake to see monsters as abominations or even as adversaries, even though these can be regarded as specific examples of monsters. Wouldn't you regard Hitler as a monster? Most of you may agree, as is evident by the horror he posed to millions.

Nonetheless, as a person, Hitler was a vegetarian who liked animals, children, and family. In addition, if only in person, he behaved nicely. No, I do not praise him in any way, for he could've prevented my birth if he had managed to exterminate every Jew at the time. Do try and make the difference, too, between personal attitude and comitting crimes against humanity.

All I'm saying is that monsters come in many shapes and forms and express different traits, powers, and behaviours. I too regard him as a monster, despite being a human and a mortal.

Monsters can exist in fiction just as they can in reality. A bear can be regarded as a monster if we find him in the wilderness and not in the safety of the zoo. Some of us have turned bears into these cute beings, like Winnie the Pooh and the classic Teddy Bear doll.

However, the cuteness we attributed to the bear does not mean it cannot eat you alive, should it be hungry enough. I have heard horror stories regarding chimpanzees too, but let's try making this article more... bearable. Yes, pun intended.

People may be introduced to monsters at a very young age. The myth of the monster that lays under your bed or that hides in your closet is such an example. Even if it isn't there, the mere concept of such an entity is something that has terrified many children, correct?

Whenever I was in my apartment as a child, I used to be afraid of shadowy figures that might wait for me and try to assassinate me. It had no rational reasoning, but the concept that existed in my mind used to make me afraid of the dark. Some of you may have had your own childish fears.

Tales of adventures, both real and unreal, may help us cope with such fears. The archetype of the hero, the brave and strong warrior who is capable of defeating any adversity in his path, is such an example.

The superhero genre might be nothing more than a mere imitation of old tales, modernized. Many of us may see this genre as very, very overused and unoriginal, but let us not forget that the concept itself was never original to begin with. Many mythologies of many cultures, perhaps your own as well, precede Superman, both in history and in their tales of courage over monsters.

It's a mistake to regard any monster as threatening or as capable of hurting you. Cockroaches are the fear of many, maybe even some of you, but beyond their presence, they don't really do anything and are generally harmless. Harmless monsters do not even have to be small.

In a game called "Silent Hill 4," there is a creature that just exists, called the Greedy Worm. It has no known reason to exist and is a giant worm that gets inside walls and hangs from ceilings. You can hit it if you want, but you'll waste your time since it's also invincible and will resume doing whatever it's doing despite being hurt.

You can read about the monster if you want, but even the information on it lacks any certainty, when it comes to its purpose.

Don't get me wrong. The Greedy Worms are intimidating, large creatures that can definitely be seen as monsters. Nonetheless, their mere presence may be enough to frighten you.

In addition, monsters are not necessarily feral, wild, or beings whose appearance is disturbing. Vampires are also monsters, but they are usually elegant, beautiful beings that led to subcultures, such as the Emo and Gothic subcultures from the 2000s.

They dress beautifully, behave in a cultured manner, and if it weren't for their thirst for blood, they wouldn't necessarily be scary. They may be particularly scary to some people due to their own fear of seeing blood.

What is even the purpose of monsters? Monsters represent many things that we are terrified of, things that disturb us, or simply feel very eerie to us. Essentially, anything that is unpleasant can be regarded as monstrous, to whatever degree. In a sense, even ideologies such as Nazism can be seen as monstrous, with their representations, their monsters, being Nazis.

The myth of the brave hero is nothing more than a fallacious fantasy, because in the real world and even in some fiction, it's impossible to defeat every monster or everything that terrifies us. We do not have that power — the power to overcome every problem that may stand in our way. Being a hero in real life is its own thing.

As with the Greedy Worm, maybe the most realistic and wise choice is to learn to live with the things and beings we might never be able to defeat.

Even if they may appear in our eyes and disturb us with their presence, it would be wise to acknowledge the ability to get used to reality. That's what makes reality not ideal at times, and maybe that's okay? Maybe we can endure life and be happy in it, despite the flaws and the fears?


I have created a monster of my own by accident. I submitted a picture of mine with my respirator to an AI filter program. It did not seem to understand the machine, so it made it into something that has been haunting me for days. I wrote this article as a way of coping with the terror I felt when I saw a being I describe as "The Nose-Breathing Crab" It may lie in my mind forever. Fortunately, I now feel calmer.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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