Who doesn’t love dragons, one of the fiercest of monsters created across world cultures? How did they become such a universal threat in the minds of man? I particularly love David E. Jones take on how this monster came to be in his book, An Instinct for Dragons. Jones says that our primate ancestors combined a fear of large cats, birds and snakes in our evolving minds to construct an image of the worst predator. Take a look at a dragon and tell me you don’t see a little of each animal.
Whether or not Jones’s controversial claims are true, the fact that our ancestors struggled to survive against the worst of circumstances was an everyday reality. Hell, we’re still struggling to survive in our own ways. The monsters we battle are both fictitious and genuine, and they have evolved throughout time based on our ancestors creative and terrified psyches.
Down through history, humans have invented numerous monsters to provoke fear in the name of controlling others. Take child-rearing for example. ‘Big Bad Wolf’ stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs are still told today. We tell children these terrifying stories to teach them about the dangers of life or to ensure they stay out of mischief. And we twist our need to control in some of the most warped of ways. Santa Claus, a jolly old elf, is meant to bring happiness with his annual drop off of presents. However, many children would argue he’s a sadistic monster whose lap is capable of eating countless babes alive.
We greatly fear organizations that steal our loved ones and our sense of security. We have made real-life monsters out of evil banks and corporations. Terrorists are today’s ‘Big Bad Wolf.’ It’s unfortunate that we take protection against some monsters to the extreme, and if that means labeling certain cultures as monsters, so be it. Yet we cower against other evil organizations that steal our livelihood.
Not only are we terrified of what we might lose, we’re angered. It’s a strong combination of emotions that brings us together as a community. While once we used sticks to protect each other against teeth and claws, countries now band together to combats our greatest fears with some of the worst weapons imaginable, making us equal to the monsters we fear.
What beasts are lurking in our future as technological progresses? Drones and artificial intelligence and cyber attacks, OH MY! These are not things to worry about for another day. We’re already venturing into this territory with self-driving cars, job loss to robots, election tampering, drone bombings and more.
You tell me, which is scarier?