Monsters And The Moral Imagination By Stephen Asma

1352 words - 5 pages

Throughout history we see monsters taking many different shapes and sizes. Whether it be a ghoul in the midst of a cold nightly stroll or a mass genocide, monsters are lurking everywhere and our perception of what monsters truly are, is enhancing their growth as a force with which to be reckoned. Fear of the unknown is seen throughout time, but as humans progress we are finding that things we once were afraid of we are less frightening than they once were. Monsters can evoke fear in their targeted victims rather than physically harm their victims. For instance, every year a new horror film is released with the next scary beast, but why do we call something a monster even if we know it is not real? Even certain people and creatures are classified as monsters, but are they really monsters, or do their actions speak of monstrous doings? In his article and book chapter Monsters and the Moral Imagination and chapter 5 of On Monsters, Stephen Asma suggests that monstrosity, as we know it, is on the rise as humans progress, and how we perceive monsters can often define monstrosities in itself, providing evidence as to why monster cultures are on the rise, and showing how human progress has evolved our perception of how we think on the topic that is monsters.
Monsters and the Moral Imagination, written by Stephen Asma, presents many possible outcomes as to why monsters are the rise. Mr. Asma discusses why monster portrayals could be on the rise in movies, books, and stories throughout his subsection Monsters are on the Rise. Perhaps the rise is due to traumatic events in recent history such as the holocaust or the terroristic attacks of 9/11 in
2001 (Asma). A number of factors could be causing this rise; stress, anxiety and traumas play a role in this rise, but the precise explanation behind this growth is unknown. Monstrosities come in different forms, so in the modern era, they do not necessarily manifest as a beast or deformity. The more we begin to understand a monstrosity, the less we fear the monster itself, however, we fear the actions of the creature itself. Perhaps it is this fear that draws us closer to the unknown and the monsters thrive upon this fear we have. Asma discusses how this fear allows for individuals to play out scenarios in their minds; we then use the events to ultimately ask ourselves, “what will I do in a situation like that (Asma)?” Dating back to the early days of Christ in a biblical era, we see monsters have always been on the rise.
Stephen Asma’s chapter on Biblical Monsters in On Monsters shows how godly monsters were on the rise in the Medieval eras. Whether it was gods’ testing of one’s faith, or individuals’ justifications as to why monsters were on earth, we can see the rise through this Medieval period as gods’ uses of monsters varies. In Asma’s subsection over The Apocalypse, he discusses numerous interactions between good and evil monsters where they are disguised almost as that of a symbolic...

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