Why are there stories about monsters in all civilizations, yet there are no monsters? Why do we believe in monsters when there are no monsters?

August 2006. Reviewed and revised November 20, 2014

Exemplary exploratory question #1

[ As with most of these questions, we are discussing mildly provocative general questions that any moderately intelligent person will take a shot at answering. ]

What kind of a question is this?

Before you begin to answer the question, hesitate. We all love to dive into answering general philosophical questions. Many of these are softball, or frisbee, questions.

Look at the question first. What is being asked here?

This one is not a question involving nominalizations. It is one that describes non-existing beings.

And it asks why we believe in monsters. What does that mean? Do we understand the concept of a monster? How do we apply it metaphorically. Why do we like to watch movies involving monsters. (We do not like to watch movies about just anything.)

With our emphasis on multi-processing mind, there is no reason to think there is a simple answer here, one answer that needs o be defended against all other competing answers. There is never a need to

And who is this "we." There are many people and they may well have a variety of reasons for liking movies about monsters.

And any question can be developed in a number of ways. What do I want to know,

Sometimes philosophy is a conceptual naiveté. I knwo very well why people like to watch monsters. Am I arguing against this. Do I want self-meta-awareness.

Working notes and thinking points:

  • Monsters are a product of fear and an active imagination.
  • Some things we only explain by an agent that is hostile or at least indifferent to humans.
  • We love stories of monsters.
  • We love them so much we don't use reason on them.
  • And at times we are all scared shitless.
  • It feels like something horrible is out there.
  • In former days, wild animals were more like monsters.

So why do we hold on to stories of monsters after we know that there are no monsters?

  • the fear simplifies and compacts us
  • even though monsters don't exists, the explanations still sets our mind at ease
  • perhaps we are predisposed to believe in monsters, heroes, kings, princesses and gods. Kinds of mythical discourse that runs across all cultures.
  • We create monsters.


It's somewhere between God and Santa.

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